That old saying which was featured in the movie Field of Dreams is quite nice. If you build it, they will come. It’s a fluffy, heartfelt comment meant to bring a tear to the eye and long for nostalgic things.
Unfortunately, that’s all it is.
I know that in the film it was meant more for the ghosts of baseball players to show up at a baseball diamond in the middle of a corn field, but it has been used to describe so many real life things. Here’s the kicker; if you build it, the public has no obligation to come. Stark reality for those who want to produce something, or create something. People do put in a lot of hard work for their endeavours and it’s great when people come forward and appreciate the things created. But if there isn’t any support, or very much at all, then it often begs the question “is it even worth it”.
This can be seen in many aspects of a community; the local hockey team, the local theatre company, the local movie house, a small diner, a book store, a new novelty shop. The list goes on and on and on. And, let’s be honest, people like it when their community has stuff. By stuff, I mean the local hockey team, the local theatre troupe, the local baseball team, the local bowling alley. But in order to keep that stuff, it needs to be supported. I’ve lived in communities where I’ve gone to the theatre with a couple of friends and we’re the only ones in the seats. I’ve been in diners where I’m the only one having a quick bite to eat, and that wasn’t at some obscure time of the day, that was during the lunch hour.
Organizations, businesses, community clubs, theatres, sport teams, none of those can continue without some support from the community. If a hockey team hardly has any support, chances are the team will fold due to lack of funds and lack of fan turnout. When that happens, there’s always someone who cries out in anguish “somebody should have done something to make sure the team survived”. Well, often that somebody happens to be the one who didn’t go to a hockey game. Ever. They like their stuff in their community, they just don’t really support it.
More support makes those who are directly involved with the effort feel a lot better. The hockey players and coaches, the theatre group actors and stage hands, the business owner who runs the movie house, or the owner who runs the diner. It may not be the greatest thing in the world, but when there’s genuine support for something, it makes those who work hard to produce it feel better and care a lot more about their own craft. If those teams, businesses, groups and organizations don’t get a lot of support, then it might not be very long before they just fade away altogether, which is a sad thing. Because without things like hockey teams, baseball teams, theatre troupes, movie houses, diners and more, a community feels less than a community.