Does Northfield have a culture of pickup games for its kids?

playborhood In yesterday’s Strib: Pickup games build skills, character. “More freedom and less structure would serve kids well, says a local coach/scholar who’s writing a book on youth sports.” I have fond memories of sandlot baseball, pond hockey, and backyard touch football growing up in Eagan. My kids are long gone so I’m not current on to what extent Northfield’s kids engage in pickup games. See the terrific blogsite, Playborhood, and the Aug. 08 blog post, Playing Ball With No Adults Around.


  1. Rob Hardy said:

    Now that spring is here, my boys often don’t show up at home until just before dinner because they’re out at the soccer field near Sibley Elementary playing ultimate frisbee. I went out there one afternoon to pick up my older son for his oboe lesson at St. Olaf, and there were a couple dozen kids, boys and girls, playing ultimate. Love it!

    May 5, 2009
  2. Kathie Galotti said:

    Griff–Really good question. I’m finding my kids are probably overscheduled in a variety of “fun” activities, but especially in the spring it all comes to a head–we’re racing from tech week rehearsals to last-minute dance recital photos and rehearsals to attending friends’ choir concerts–and that’s on top of the music and field day and learning fair activities at the schools.

    I don’t see an obvious solution–all of these activities are good ones in so many ways–but it’s just nuts to see them all come to a culmination in the same two-week period in May! Totally crowds out the time I remember having in my childhood to play in the neighborhood–games of our own choosing and design.

    May 5, 2009
  3. Matt Sewich said:

    The hockey-kids still seem to do a decent job of getting on the outdoor rinks and playing some pickup games…some families even have rinks at home for their kids to skate, shoot and play on.

    The ice arena also has open hockey for the kids sometimes and given the opportunity to play pickup hockey inside it usually get a good showing.

    May 5, 2009
  4. Anthony Pierre said:

    longfellow school has a great place to play handball/racquetball. I would love pick up games to start there.

    May 5, 2009
  5. Arlen Malecha said:

    Is there a way to have “light structured” pick up games? Perhaps a website where people like Anthony could post a note saying “Hey, I am looking for folks interested in pick up games of handball /racquetball in the early evenings.” or my kids could post they would like to play a game of pick up ball at Way park on Friday afternoons starting at 4″?

    Northfield is blessed with many wonderful parks, maybe too many parks for trying to organize pickup games. Everyone would be looking for the games to be in their own neighborhoods but if they knew they had to go to a particular park perhaps it would be better.

    Griff, perhaps you can come up with an idea and have LoNoGro be the own hero for pick up games.

    Just some food for thought I guess.

    May 5, 2009
  6. Winter is harder, but in our neighborhood in the summer, kids spontaneously gather to play capture the flag, soccer and other games in and around Central Park. It’s great.

    May 5, 2009
  7. David Beimers said:

    It still happens. My kids went through a four week stretch last fall of playing street hockey. More recently, it’s been whiffle ball or pickle. I think it happens less than when I was a kid, but there just weren’t the structured opportunities 25-30 years ago.

    May 6, 2009
  8. Bright Spencer said:

    There are pick up basketball games at the Heritage Park very often. Well, I wouldn’t call them games, but kids playing basketball. They usually come out only on the nicer days. When its the least bit cold or hot, the activity ceases almost completely.

    May 7, 2009

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