FAIR GAME:Thanks for seeing the dream through

February 17, 2007|By TOM JOHNSON

I was invited to Thursday's ceremonial groundbreaking for the new state-of-the-art football facility at Estancia High School. I say football, but it should be noted that it'll also be used for track, soccer, field hockey, graduations and band practices.

When I arrived at the school, the posted signs directed me to the back of campus. We "dignitaries" parked on the blacktop adjacent to the field.

Without being disrespectful to my friends at Estancia, my first thought as I got out of my car and walked across the grass was, "Where did they put the cows?"


I was quick to determine that this new facility was long overdue.

By the way, if I owned cows — and I don't — I wouldn't let them graze there anyway. There's not enough grass and the terrain is too bumpy, get my point?

But yesterday's event was truly special for a variety of reasons besides the obvious.

First of all, the entire student body was released from class to join in. The band played, the cheerleaders cheered, and the students, well, the students just stood there. But having them all there made the previous years of hard work worth it.

The list of who's who from the community included many current and past members of Costa Mesa's City Council and school board; paid officials from City Hall and the school district office; business owners both big and small who have financially supported the stadium project to this point; and just plain old boosters and friends of Estancia and Costa Mesa high schools.

But perhaps the most noted guest was off to the side, confined to a wheelchair following a stroke last April.

Decked out in his recognizable red bucket-hat and Estancia letterman's jacket, surrounded by his family, 81-year-old Jim Scott Sr. was there.

You see, it's been Scott's dream to have this stadium built, and he'd been pursuing it for more than a decade. He talked about it when no one else would listen.

Sometimes it's a long walk when you're doing it on your own.

He even walked into former school Supt. Robert Barbot's office one day and slapped down a $100 bill. He said that "he wanted to make the first contribution toward a new stadium at Estancia."

Today he can't talk. The stroke took that from him. For his family it's a chore to even get him to an event like this.

But for them, they proudly share in his accomplishment. And somehow, you just know that he knows his long-awaited dream is coming true.

Following the welcomes, the thank yous, more thank yous and the official remarks "required" for an event like this, the official groundbreaking took place in a symbolic raked pile of dirt in front of the speaker's stage.

You could feel the sense of accomplishment of what a day like this meant to the future generations for our local high schools.

The plan is to have the stadium completed for the fall 2008 season.

It will become the home to Estancia and Costa Mesa and remove the burden and inconvenience of them having to travel to "home" games at Newport Harbor High.

But from looking at the plans, it'll be worth it.

Thank you, Jim Scott, for seeing the dream through.

  • TOM JOHNSON is the publisher. Readers may leave a message for him on the Daily Pilot hotline at (714) 966-4664 or send story ideas to

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