The VWS varsity softball team searches for their missing golf cart

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Bianca Arteaga ('22)

The VWS varsity softball golf cart sits in front of the gym, unused. The golf cart has space in the back to store gear such as softball nets, buckets of balls, and bags. This is because carrying all this gear up and down hills can be strenuous.

AMBER ALERT!  

Missing golf cart belonging to the softball team.  

Vehicle is a white E-Z-GO golf cart with a sign that says, “Property of the Webb Gauls Softball Team.”  

Last seen in Claremont, CA with Danny Martinez, security and special operations technician. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill.  

Many years ago, a donor supported Webb’s softball program by renovating the field, adding a scoreboard, updating the fencing in the outfield, and re-aligning the infield. Along with these renovations, the softball team also received a golf cart.  

“The donation was donated partially to the softball team, but it was never discussed as a donation specifically to softball,” said Steve Wishek, Director of Athletics & Afternoon Activities. “However, it was understood that it could certainly help the softball program.” 

The softball team has the furthest walk on campus and must carry gear every day, so the softball team was ecstatic for this new addition. The team used the golf cart for several purposes: to drag the infield so the dirt was soft, to carry gear up and down several hills, to transport injured players to practice so they can still attend and to run errands if the team needed something.  

However, near the 2015-2016 season, the athletic department took away the golf cart, taking away a valuable resource from the softball team. 

“When we saw how it was being used, we just felt there were better uses for that golf cart, and the conversation we had with that coach at the time when the initial gift was given including the golf cart was that if you have anything that you need to be done and that the golf cart would help with, that we know and are getting that done for you,” Mr. Wishek said.  

Nevertheless, the softball team has several needs that have not been met due to this decision. Here are four crucial reasons why the golf cart should be returned to the team: 

   1. Safety  

Ever since the golf cart was removed, facilities have been dragging the field. Dragging the field is necessary to keep the dirt soft, so when players dive or slide, they are not getting scraped or injured by the roughness of the dirt. When it is not spring season, however, the field is not covered and not dragged regularly, so it is not properly being taken care of outside of the season. 

When spring season begins, players that dive or slide always leave the field with bruises on their bodies, soreness, and scrapes of blood on their legs.  

“It hurts very badly to slide on the dirt,” Julia Fenner (‘23) said. “I remember when I slid freshman year, my whole calf and body was scraped up. The field is literally hard as rocks, and it is painful. Also, if you don’t know how to slide and you do it wrong, you could easily injure yourself.”  

If the softball team had the golf cart, we would be able to drag the field and make the dirt easier for players to play on, decreasing injury risk. While injury is possible in any sport, it would be easier to encourage newer players to get dirty and improve their skill set while maintaining their safety.  

     2. The golf cart has more than just one use 

The athletic department believed that the golf cart was solely being used for shuttling people to and from practice. However, there were so many other behind-the-scene uses that administration did not take note of.  

“We used the golf cart every single day and with good reason,” said Hailey Arteaga (‘16), a Webb alumna and former player for the VWS softball team. “The golf cart was useful for moving gear around, dragging the dirt before practices and games to assure it was smooth, transporting injured players to practice so they can still attend afternoon activity, and yes, taking people to practice. The softball team has the furthest walk on campus with a lot of gear to carry, so that it still a good reason to use a golf cart.”  

Often, assumptions are made about girls’ sports. If we look at the 2021 NCAA Women’s basketball tournament, the women received smaller gyms than the men because there was not enough space to expand the area. If you want to build a program, you must support them. If you continue to undermine programs and take away resources, then teams cannot grow and succeed.  

     3. Accessibility  

“Wait… we have a softball field?” Siena Burke (‘25) said.  

When being interviewed, Siena had no idea we even have a softball field on campus because it is so hidden. However, she is not alone. Many new students and teachers never know where the field is because not many activities are held there and because it is hard to reach. 

Softball is already an unpopular sport, and people are reluctant to join for numerous reasons, including how secluded the field is from campus. The baseball team’s field is right on Chandler field, making it a short walk from the main campus area. To get to the softball field, you have to walk up Gym Hill and down another hill behind the gym, on average, taking around ten minutes to get to the location.  

“One hill is already enough, but two?!” Siena said. “I think more people would join softball if the field was more attainable. The softball field is so far, it’s definitely a con when you’re considering what activity you want to do in the spring.”  

Although the golf cart is just a small resource and may be deemed unnecessary for transportation, more people would be encouraged to join softball if the field was easier to get to, which would allow the softball program to flourish and grow.  

   4. We can still utilize resources in an efficient way 

A key argument the department had was that there were other needs in other areas that the golf cart could be used for. Rather than letting it sit all year until spring season arrives, the school decided to put it towards different uses and give it to Mr. Martinez, who does a lot of work with the equipment, uniforms, and other things.  

We are not trying to be selfish and say that the golf cart can ONLY be used for softball. During the fall, winter, and summer, the school can use it for any important reason. Even during spring season, if the softball team and school communicated, there can be ways to share the cart, so everyone’s needs are being met.  

“The reality is that for the first couple of springs that we had it [golf cart], the only thing that softball really used it for was to shuttle people up and down the hill because some people have a hard time with the walk,” Mr. Wishek said. “It was used to pick up kids and move around but it wasn’t used in the day-to-day.” 

Now, there are several reasons for the team to use the cart on a daily basis.  

We are still looking for the golf cart as it has yet to be found. To support a growing program, the softball team needs the golf cart not just for driving people around, but also for their safety and other crucial reasons. The softball team is dedicated to using the golf cart in the most efficient way possible and are more than happy to share with others once returned.  

Mr. Wishek affirmed that if the softball team has any needs, then he is dedicated to working with us. So, we politely ask for the return of the golf cart for the 2022 spring season to have an out-of-the-park experience.  

Note: Hailey Arteaga is related to Bianca Arteaga, the author of this article.