If it’s occurred to you that life in Brooklyn at this particular moment is a matter of reconciling treasured cosmopolitanism with the values and traditions of Real America, in ways both superficial (flannel, PBR cans) and significant (backyard chicken coops, CSAs) or, more crudely, if the kickball league you joined with ironic intentions turned out to have stirred deep nostalgic longings, then you may wish to return to McCarren Park this fall, with extra layers of scratchy clothes, to watch high school football.
In early August, the Brooklyn Paper flagged the plight of the Automotive High School football team: players, fans and marching band forced to trek to Bushwick’s Grand Street Campus for home games, the Public School Athletic League and Parks Department having rejected as unsuitable McCarren Park’s football field, just across the street from AHS’s Bedford Avenue campus.
But now, after the intervention of a higher power (Marty Markowitz), and following a walk-through of the McCarren field with all the relevant agencies, Head Coach Haseeb Khawaja says the way is clear for the Pistons to play two true home games in McCarren, at 11am on Saturday, September 25 and Sunday, November 7. The Department of Education will provide the Port-a-Johns, while school security will erect the required NYPD barriers to separate spectators from participants. Admission will be free of charge; no concessions will be sold at the September 25 game, though Coach Khawaja expects a parents’ group may set up a table come November. Asked to name players new fans should keep an eye on, he drew attention to junior Kareem Flatts, the squad’s best all-around athlete, a wide receiver who plays quarterback when the team lines up in wildcat formation, “workhorse” junior running back Davies Owusu, and the hardest hitter on the field, senior safety Gregory Dominick.
If all goes well this fall—with November’s game hopefully demonstrating that any lingering issues from September’s “dress rehersal” have been addressed—Coach Khawaja sees no reason why Automotive High School can’t play all five of its 2011 home games in McCarren Park, under the lights on Friday nights. The Piston’s colors are blue and yellow, incidentally— dress appropriately.