Copa America

In case you missed it, Copa America (Centennial Cup America) took place this month and had soccer fans going crazy. Perhaps soccer is not your thing, but there was definitely some action that any sports fan can appreciate. This year the tournament was hosted in the United States, and fortunately for local fans the U.S. team really delivered. Coming in a very respectable 4th place, right behind Colombia, Argentina, and Chile who took the championship for the second year in a row. Huge disappointment for Argentina and their star Lionel Messi who has lost twice to Chile in the Copa finals. For the fans though Copa America was a thrilling tournament, and had no shortage of action.

Personally soccer has not been my favorite sport growing up, I think I was traumatized because of an incident as a child where my teammate got sick from pesticides on the field. In fact I told my mom I no longer wanted to play soccer after that season, perhaps a little paranoid, but it seriously freaked me out. The field had just been sprayed before our game, and one of my teammates had a really bad allergic reaction that eventually led to him leaving the game, and going to the hospital. I think these types of incidences are rare but they certainly do happen, and not just on soccer fields, but on any field that has grass because they’re usually treated by some type of pest control. Unfortunately the city and the youth sport organizations are not making a lot of money, so they aren’t getting the best pest control companies to service the fields.

I believe however safe and organic pest control will become a lot more prevalent on youth fields in the years to come. Parents and officials will undoubtedly react if they believe that current pesticides are unsafe, especially considering the age of the kids who are coming into contact with with these pesticides. And the reality is there has been growing exposure to the dangers of certain pesticides, and their link to serious diseases. I don’t write this to deter parents from letting their kids play youth sports because I believe sports are great for childhood development, but urge them to consult with their local youth sport associations and the fields property management about what’s being used. I think these property managers should try and locate a local organic pest control company in their area, or some one who offers pest control products that are safe for children to be around. There is already serious concern with the amount of chemicals children are exposed to on a regular basis, and it’s important as parents you do as much as possible to mitigate these exposures.

Sports are intended to be fun, and should not pose any unseen risks, or lead to any freak allergy reactions like was the case for my teammate. Unforeseen dangers like this can deter parents from wanting to let their children play in public leagues and possibly can pull potential athletic stars from realizing their potential. Perhaps a bit dramatic, but honestly I don’t think so. With more people becoming aware of this, there will certainly be reactions by some parents who may possibly pull their kids from sports. The reality is that organic and safe alternatives exist and I’m sure professional players, including those who played in Copa America are not exposed to this. Its most likely poorly funded youth programs that have to rely on cheap pesticides to keep their fields clean.

Like mentioned before, I think parents should reach out to their local youth organizations and inquire about the current field maintenance, and learn more about the types of pest control products being used on the fields. Perhaps field management are unaware of the potentials dangers associated with cheap pesticides, and would be willing to hire a commercial pest control company with safe products to service the fields. More times than not people are simply unaware of dangers such as this, for years people have applied products in public spaces that today are illegal, simply because they were ignorant to their harmful effects.

Youth sports should be fun and worry free, and I don’t meant to cause a scare. Unfortunately for my childhood teammate and other children this can be a serious ordeal though. Help spread the word, and push for your local youth organizations to invest in safe products for their fields and facilities.