Friday, March 17, 2000
Carlisle Is Not an Island
"Commercial Development swells in Route 495 Area", read an article by Kathy Coyle in the February 18 issue of the Carlisle Mosquito. Coyle is the reporter who covers monthly meetings of The Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (MAGIC)a group of contiguous communities which meets to address issues of mutual concern. MAGIC consists of 11 townsActon, Bedford, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Hudson, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard and Stow.
During the past several years MAGIC, with input from local legislators, has begun to look at the impact of growth on our area and has started planning for regional transportation needs.
As previously reported, in Boxborough alone, six large commercial development projects have been approved and are underway. Drawing the most concern is Cisco's east coast headquarters which will occupy 350 acres in Boxborough and Harvard, and start with approximately 3,500 employees. Other building projects in Burlington, Lowell and Maynard are of growing concern, as well.
The big question is what impact will this commercial development have on the 11 MAGIC communities and more specifically, on the town of Carlisle? This is where the question of transportation comes in. With commercial development on the rise in bordering towns, there is no way we can escape more commuter traffic on our roads. Already the traffic on East Street, Bedford Road, Concord Street, Lowell Street and West Street is a major concern to town residents. A virtual traffic jam clogs the town center during weekday morning and evening rush hours. What is going to happen on Carlisle roads in the years ahead is the big question.
That's where MAGIC comes in. At the top of their agenda is input into the Central Transportation Planning Staff's (CTPS) development of a regional transportation plan which will govern transportation decision-making for the next 25 years. This is not a problem that can be solved at the local level, but one that will have to be dealt with using a regional approach.
Yes, our local officials, through our representatives from the planning board and selectmen, should have input into this process. Their involvement in long-range planning on the regional level through MAGIC is essential to the well-being of this community.
Last December my daughter signed up for the 4th- and 5th-grade basketball league. Without realizing it, I was also signing up. I watched Brian Anderson, Carlisle's superb coach and coordinator, direct twenty girls on the court for one practice. The next week I returned with another father, and we split the group into two teams. My basketball skills are modest. I never advanced beyond the JV team in high school. But I did go to the old Boston Garden to see Bill Russell stuff Wilt Chamberlain one unforgettable Sunday afternoon.
We work on dribbling, passing, shooting. No one can execute a lay-up. Skills are in the formative stages, but enthusiasm is high. Scrimmages are fierce, scrappy, low-scoring affairs. I wonder where the mother coaches are.
I call to my friend, RJ, who was put on earth to coach girls basketball teams. "What do I do?" I ask him. He talks for ten minutes, losing me at minute three. "Tell me two things to teach," I plead "tell me one thing." "Keep the elbow in when shooting," he replies.
I have no idea what will happen at the first game. The other team has some talented players and a serious coach. Why didn't I pay closer attention to my coaches in high school? We lose the opening tap-off; they score first. But our team rallies. A series of stolen balls and fast breaks somehow puts us in the lead. Every time one of our players scores a basket seems a miracle.
I call RJ again. "Tell them to keep low when they guard," he recommends.
Next week, we're up against a team with a huge player. Her father sits at the edge of the court with his long legs stretched onto the playing area. Each of their players has at least two supporters. When they score a basket, the gym reverberates with cheers. At one point the big girl trips one of our players who crashes to the floor; later, the ref calls her for choking one of our girls. Even though we win the game handily, some on our team think the other team has won.
We play our next couple of games in adjoining towns. One of my high school students serves as the ref for one of them. He takes a relaxed approach. Only when one of the players takes four or five steps without dribbling, or one player crashes into another, might he call a foul. After the game he compliments us on our deportment, and mutters about "some parents" who take the games "far too seriously." I understand the urge to charge on court, rip the ball out of an opponent's hands, take it the length of the court, and slam-dunk. So far, most parents have shown admirable restraint.
The next week we are back, stealing passes, diving after loose balls. Our players are more confident, with a sense of where to go, what to do. They give all they have to the team; their sense of fair-play would shame any partisan. Win or lose, I am immensely proud of them. I too have remembered and learned a great deal about basketball. When the time comes, perhaps they will coach their own daughters, remembering these games long ago in Carlisle.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito