Soccer Field?

I’ve noticed this soccer field before on Northland Drive, north of Cedar Springs. This weekend I stopped for a minute to photograph it. You’d never guess it was (had been) a soccer field other than the goal frames being there. Otherwise it looks more like a fallow farm field.

The netless goal frames looks odd and out of place. The field is not in town and not near a school. There’s not even any obvious evidence of what might have been a parking area (e.g., a layer gravel under the grass). Presumably cars would have parked to the right of where I took the photo below. In general in the photos below, you can see that the soccer fields is surrounded by farmers’ fields and rural businesses.

It does not look like the field has been used for a long time for anything. There are signs of vehicles occasionally driving on the field, but not clear what for. Notice the thick, straw-like grass in the image below.

So, I wonder who build it, who used it, and why it was abandoned. Perhaps a school needed a place to play, but did not have space on its grounds? A field for local youth soccer? A large farm family with a love for soccer? Did new middle or high schools with better fields in town reduce the need for this one? And why has no one removed the goal frames so the field can be used for something else.

What draws me to images like this is the stories I imagine behind them. Another example, admittedly less mysterious, is this abandoned garage. There’s evidence of a driveway, but just that. There’s no house nearby, unless one that was there was torn down. Most likely this was a small business related to repairing automobiles, one that went out of business.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been photographing the business districts of towns, villages, and neighborhoods in West Michigan, from Allegan in the South to Howard City in the north, the short of Lake Michigan in the west, and Ionia to the east. You see lots of signs of both persistence and resilience and economic stress and precariousness in them. The same is true along highways on the way in and out of towns. In the landscape and buildings, you can see signs of both.

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