Uproar of Cancellation of Conshohocken Bears Game on Saturday

This past Saturday the Conshohocken Bears had its games cancelled by the Borough of Conshohocken due to field conditions after rain. A member of the Conshohocken Bears’ Board, Mark Chesky, posted the following on his personal Facebook page:

The Conshohocken Borough decided to cancel our Conshy Bears game for the second time this year. We make around 900 bucks for our ORG from the snack stand during game day and will lose out for the second time. During our discussion on trying to get them to let us use our field we were told that most of our kids that play are not even from Conshy, and that we don’t PAY to use the field.. WTF does that even mean???

The Conshohocken Bears have been around for over 60 years and we NEVER had to pay to use that field. Most kids that live outside of Conshy that come here to play do so because their parents or family members did at one time and come back to tradition and a great ORG. I still can’t get past the “most of your kids are not even from Conshy.” Would love to know how that plays a part in anything, but sounds to me it’s been said behind closed doors a few times and makes you wonder.

The Borough determining the field would be damaged by use after rain is not a situation exclusive to the Bears.

We are very familiar with the Borough’s concern for the field after rain storms. MoreThanTheCurve.com manages the Conshohocken Beer Festival on behalf of a local charity. The festival is held at the stadium and was planned to be held on the field.

This year it rained on the days leading up to the festival and into the morning on the day of the festival. The day before the festival, the field was roped off and we were told we were most likely not going to be able to use it. It rained the next morning and we held the festival without going onto the actual field.

Over the past two years, the Philadelphia Fight Rugby League Club has had three games moved from the “A’ Field to the “B” Field after rain storms.

Chesky’s post received a lot of attention. There are hundreds of comments. One thing that is brought up in the comments is that Pope John Paul II was allowed to play a high school football game the evening of the same day the Bears had earlier games cancelled.

As we mentioned above, we spent a lot of time at A. A. Garthwaite Stadium recently in conjunction with the beer festival. We were shown how the field drains after rain and the problem areas that persist. Based on what we learned, the field can be ready for play if allowed several hours to drain and the weather cooperates.

Another thing that comes up in the comments of Chesky’s post is how the field was deeded to the Borough. A quick search shows the Borough of Conshohocken owns the property. What isn’t clear is if any conditions were placed on the deed on how the field was to be used. We are going to have the Schuylkill Valley Chronicles look into this issue.

And lastly, in the comments on Chesky’s post, there are accusations within the comments that newer residents now control Borough Council and they do not respect the town’s traditions, such as the Bears.

There are seven members of Borough Council. We think only one member has lived in Conshohocken less than 20 years. The rest are very long term residents and there are probably a couple lifers within the six. The perception that this is old vs. new issue just isn’t correct.

We aren’t sure if the Borough has a good or bad policy when it comes to cancelling games. We aren’t sure if the field is maintained in a way to allow for the desired use of the field.

However, based on the evidence, the Borough is treating the organizations that use the field equally. Use of the field isn’t permitted if recent weather means that its use would lead to damaging it.

The statement Chesky attributes to a member of the Borough’s staff is problematic. We will look into that.

Feel free to comment.