FIELD OF THEIR DREAMS
There is an obvious distinction between the people who show up for a youth sporting event at 8 a.m. on a cold Saturday in autumn. On one hand, there are the two dozen or so parents sipping coffee with bleary eyes who cannot believe they got up this early. On the other, there are the two dozen 8- and 9-year-olds who couldn't be happier running around this early in the day. Such was the case last weekend at 101st Street in Riverside Park, where the Department of Parks and the West Side Soccer League inaugurated a renovated field with a brief early-morning ceremony. Dana DiPrima, regional commissioner of the league, handed out soccer-ball-shaped whistles. "The technology continues to improve," she said. "I'm no expert, but I know we now have a great field with good lines. It's for young kids. You can't play a full 11-on-11 game, but it's good for these girls who are 8 and will play eight-on-eight." The old field was a dull brown carpet that seemed increasingly lackluster with the renovation of the fields to the north and their conversion to an artificial, all-weather surface. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer provided some political celebrity with a brief speech. He helped provide funds for the renovation, while still an Assembly member. The rest of the money came mostly from the league's coffers. "We spend a lot of time on these fields, so we contribute a lot of money for upkeep and to improve them," DiPrima said. After the talking concluded, the young girls provided a moment of celebration with one loud shriek of their whistles. Then the Purple Cheetahs ran onto the field, ready to get down to business and score some goals.
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