News - August 20, 2008

Portola Valley: Players can have a beer after the game

by Dave Boyce

The drinking may continue, within limits. Portola Valley's adult sandlot athletes are free to enjoy a beer or a glass of wine while rehashing a just-concluded game of softball, soccer, rugby or whatever.

Hard liquor, alcohol abuse and drinking during the game on or off the field are out, the Town Council said at its Aug. 13 meeting, but it's not as if any of those practices were ever really in.

A council consensus rejected a proposal by Town Administrator Angela Howard to ban drinking of alcoholic beverages altogether at athletic venues. Such bans are in place in many California cities and towns, including Woodside, Ms. Howard said.

Passions did surface during the discussion.

"Temperate imbibing of wine and beer is part of the experience of getting together with friends and neighbors," said councilman and softball player Steve Toben. "I am vigorously opposed to the notion that we would prohibit alcohol. It would really change the complexion of the environment at ball games."

"I've been playing for years and years and I've never seen abuse of it," said softball player and resident SallyAnn Reiss.

It works out to about one beer per player, Councilman Ted Driscoll noted.

Mayor Maryann Moise Derwin, who said she comes from a family that has had problems with alcohol, wanted no drinking at all. "I just sort or rolled with it," she said in an interview. "It wasn't the will of the council (and) there was a lot of pushback from the community. ... I don't like the idea of the modeling of sports and alcohol for the kids. I really think we have a problem in our culture."

Town staff will revise the playing field permits to explain the guidelines for alcoholic beverages. League representatives, who fill out the permits yearly in Town Hall, will be encouraged to remind players of the guidelines.


Posted by Annelise Connell, a resident of Portola Valley: Woodside Highlands
on Aug 21, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Liquor and sports don't mix. Drinking after a game means driving after drinking after being tired out by a ball game, which is insane. Why is the Town Council promoting it?

Alcohol is a recreational drug, a depressant. A shot of hard liquor has the same alcohol content as a glass of wine or a can of beer so banning only hard liquor shows that the vote was not based on scientific evidence - only on misconceptions on what constitutes "alcohol abuse". One beer or a glass of wine is enough to slow down reflexes enough on the road to kill someone.

When we show children that grown men, even our city council members, feel they need to use drugs after an enjoyable game of sport, we teach them that there is no real fun in life without recreational drugs. When Dad then drives home after drinking, common sense and the law are both mocked. If a ball game is not enough to make councilman Toban enjoy his afternoon and he needs recreational drugs, too, that's fine, but he should drive home first.

I sincerely hope the council will reconsider Ms. Howard's recommendation. Sport is fun and needs no recreational drugs. Driving after drinking is, of course, illegal.

Posted by Elle, a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Sep 15, 2008 at 12:48 pm

How irresponsible of the Portola Town Council to endorse this type of behaviour on our community recreational outlets. I can't imagine what type of parents these adults are - both the adults on the town council and the adults on the sports teams that can't have an evening without their drugs.

Could there be a requirement that there is a schedule of all of these games published in the Almanac so that concerned residents can avoid those roads on those evenings? I've already been hit once by a drunk driver and would like to avoid it from happening again.

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