By Jim Diamond
Forgive me in advance if the lines get blurred between me being a journalist and someone who is pissed off about a misjustice that is occurring right now in Franklin, but this is a difficult one.
The owners of A-Game Sportsplex closed and locked the doors to their facility this morning. The police are in the parking lot blocking the entrance.
The sale and eventual closing of A-Game has been well publicized the last few months. But now the owners have decided to do the worst thing possible and that is use children as a pawn in their business dealings. The thousands, that’s right thousands, of children who play volleyball and hockey at A-Game now have nowhere to go. There is a month or so left in the seasons. The volleyball and hockey clubs who operate out of A-Game have valid leases that extend beyond this season. The owners are attempting to force them out of those leases by locking the doors.
Oh, and there is a school that operates in A-Game. Sorry again kids.
A statement today submitted by the ownership group said that they will work with the lease holders to reopen the facility for the remainder of the season, but only if the volleyball and hockey groups agree to terminate their leases early, thereby enabling the owners to sell the building.
I just put two kids on the school bus this morning. One of them is expecting to return from school and have a practice at A-Game tonight. The other, whose team I serve as head coach, is supposed to practice tomorrow night.
How do you explain this one to them? They don’t cover this one in parenting school.
Including A-Game, there are only six sheets of ice in Nashville that can be used for youth and adult hockey. There isn’t a lot of available ice time at any of these six as it is. Closing A-Game and taking two sheets of ice away in Nashville will be devastating to a market that was on such a high after this past weekend’s All-Star game festivities.
Just building a new rink is not something that can’t occur quickly.
Business is difficult, but when you involve children and use them like the owners of A-Game are attempting to use them, it crosses a line. The volleyball and hockey players of this community do not deserve this. It is in no way their fault yet they are be the ones who will suffer the most.
The local economy will suffer as well. A-Game hosts volleyball, basketball, and hockey tournaments every weekend.
That means hundreds of hotel nights and restaurant meals that could disappear.
A significant number of Nashville Predators season ticket holders live in Williamson County. Fewer people playing hockey there, children and adults alike, will not be good for the Predators either.