Who’s on first?

News that Harvard’s softball teams are without a home field comes as a shock. It’s been known for more than a year that the diamond next to Hildreth Elementary School would be lost when construction begins on a new school this spring. Voters approved an expenditure of $40,000 to construct a new regulation softball field at Special Town Meeting last October, and the contractor promised it would be ready April 1.

Well, April Fool. Because the contractor failed to gain the approval of the Conservation Commission for work that abuts a wetland, the training and hopes of a Bromfield varsity team may be for naught. Where was the oversight? It’s easy to blame the vendor for failure to meet the terms of its contract, but if Parks and Rec, for example, had been designated project manager, perhaps the approval would have been gained months ago. It looks as though there were too many players on the field for what should have been a simple game: Parks and Rec, the Harvard schools athletic department, Town Hall, DPW, the superintendent’s athletic advisory committee, the Harvard Youth Baseball and Softball Association, and the Harvard Athletic Association. Surely there is enough expertise and personpower among these groups to have delivered a finished field in time for spring athletics. What’s missing is leadership.

The parents and players who pay to play competitive softball deserve better. Perhaps, as we reported, Athletic Director Dave Boisvert is correct to say it’s time for the town to create a recreation department with a full-time director to run it.

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