For many years, IBM employees used to play soccer in our field, as did the kids from AYSO. Now, nothing. One man gamely suggested summer was too hot to play and the people with pulses would return once the weather cooled. Alas, I tend to agree with a more sobering assessment: our lawyers and insurers said no.
I should have titled this post "Don't Get Me Started" for that is surely one of my pet peeves (the only pet besides Hopi that guys seem to enjoy). I appreciate that in our litigious society and as a Catholic entity we must be doubly cautious of accidents among our guests, but there must be a better, middle way other than all or nothing.
Groups that come to the Knoll for overnight workshops or retreats must bring a certificate of insurance showing they are covered by their sponsoring diocese or parish.
Don't IBM and AYSO have insurance? Can't they sign waivers?
But here's the kicker: our lawyers and insurers (all honorable people) have been exercising veto power on more things than just soccer by outsiders. To my knowledge they are lay people. So lay people can, in fact, make decisions for clerics as long as we clerics are too apathetic to question or to negotiate a compromise. Or are we hiding behind our lawyers to justify unpopular decisions we don't want openly discussed?
And so, slowly but surely, crowds diminish and disappear from Maryknoll and all signs of outside interest vanish.