This man praised the shade Cricket Playground provides on a hot day.
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
With a handful of parks and recreational fields opening last weekend, Needham residents were out and about doing a wide variety of activities, just before two massive thunderstorms soaked the town. But while the main motivation for everyone was to get out of the house, some people had more focused goals in mind.
Looking to get some fresh air, Kathy Fritz and her family went for a bike ride around their neighborhood before stopping for a rest at Greene’s Field. Unfortunately for her children, the playground at Greene’s Field remained locked up, so to occupy their time as she drank tea, she let them ride their bikes around the empty basketball court.
“I was just saying to my husband that we want our kids to be outside. We don’t know what the fall is going to bring, so we want to capitalize on the good weather and get them as much fresh air as possible. Even if that means just taking them to an empty basketball court and letting them ride their bikes.”
This creativity was echoed by Charlie Ledbury and his father, although they were far more serious about their recreational activity. With a hockey tryout coming up, Ledbury was firing pucks off a shooting board, towards a taped goal on the baseball diamond’s backstop. Ledbury said he grew out of his rollerblades so he will be a little rusty on skates at the tryout, but he’s doing what he can to get back into the swing of things.
“I have tryouts on Monday, so I’m trying to get back into the grind of hockey. I’ve kind of been slacking off during COVID, which kind of cancelled the season. It ended a little early, before the playoffs and everything, but now a couple of rinks are gradually opening. I’m feeling pretty good about it. I’ll be a little rusty on skates, but my stick-handling and shooting is coming along.”
While nobody was at the Defazio tot park, the soccer fields were full. A group of friends were playing on them, with one (Michael McShane) noting that he was training for the upcoming Stonehill College season.
“I play at school, and then we always come out and play together as friends. We’ve done it every summer. I’m still waiting to hear about the fall season, I've heard some things, but since there’s a lot of moving parts, nothing is finalized yet. I’m feeling pretty good though, just trying to keep it like a normal off-season, because that’s all you can do.”
One of the playgrounds that is open is the one behind Broadmeadow School. But for whatever reason, while the tennis courts were full on Sunday, the playground was nearly empty. Michelle Murray, a member of the lone family using it, talked about having the whole playground to herself.
“We’re just really happy to finally be able to get out here. It’s been a long three months; it’s been since March that my two girls have been on a playground, so they’re really excited to be back. We’re the only ones here, so it’s kind of nice to have the place to ourselves.”
Like many families, Murray said that they’ve been doing a wide variety of activities to make up for the loss of playgrounds. But as much as she tries, in 2020, you just can’t keep kids away from screens.
“We’ve been doing puzzles, games, trying to get creative, and trying to limit screen time. But that’s something that’s inevitable.”
Screen-time may be inevitable, but with some playgrounds open, it should be at least a bit easier to cut back on. If not, you can try and be creative with how you use Needham's open space for athletics, leisure, or a distraction for your kids while drinking tea.