Community members volunteer to clean up athletic complex after vandalism
OLD TOWN, Maine — Jeremy Bousquet pulled into the Old Town High School campus on Tuesday morning frustrated and disappointed.
The baseball bases had been ripped out of the ground, soccer nets dragged from one end of Victory field to the other and the field hockey goals were turned upside down and left perched on top of the surrounding metal fence.
For an hour, Bousquet, the school’s athletic director, circled the complex, surveying and cleaning up damage, until he became fed up and retreated to his office to get ready for a morning Zoom meeting.
At his desk, he penned a letter he would soon post online with the principal’s permission.
“We spend a lot of time, resources and personal pride on developing and maintaining top notch facilities for our community, staff and students to use,” he wrote.
“With that said, it would be a shame if we would have to close our facilities to public and off-season use because some people feel the need to vandalize, destruct or abuse equipment that is present for communal use.”
“OTHS will give it till Friday for the facility to be put back to original condition or the facilities will be locked to all use … Respectfully, a tired and frustrated AD,” he signed it.
Though he didn’t need to wait until Friday because within an hour, dozens of parents in the community and their kids volunteered to clean up the fields.
People showed up sporadically Tuesday morning to help put things back together — some with their kids in tow. Others volunteered to swing by over the weekend to clean up, too.
“Because of kind-hearted community members who took time out of the day, the facility is picked up and good to continue use … Please use and put back, please self police and say something if something is not right … Thank you again — restored my faith in humanity for the moment!,” Bousquet posted later.
While his spirits were lifted by the community’s outreach, Bousquet remains skeptical of leaving the fields open, but locking everything up isn’t something he wants to do — especially during the pandemic when people need to get outside.
He’s even caught flack in the past for choosing to keep the fields open to the public around the clock, while other schools around the state close their outdoor facilities to prevent misuse.
“The life of an [athletic director] is your facility,” he said.
Still, Bousquet hopes his simple plea will be heard, otherwise he’s left with few options but to lock the complex until the school reopens.
“I have no problem with people using our facilities [or] equipment,” he said. [But] if you use something, put it back.”