The Meaning of Hahamongna

The original settlers of the region were sometimes called the Hahamongna Indians. The word means "Flowing Waters, Fruitful Valley" in the native Tongva language.

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Larry Wilson: You're against soccer? That's un-American





Larry Wilson


Pasadena Star News


In my day, soccer was twice foreign: The only way Southern California kids knew how to play it was if they, or their parents, were born in another country, or if they went to prep school.

Our gang never learned it, either on the streets of Altadena or from our Noyes Elementary coaches. If it wasn't football, basketball or baseball, it was commie, and you could keep it.

Nowadays, if you say a discouraging word about the world's favorite sport, you're un-American. For all I know, if you don't enroll your 5-year-old in AYSO, the revenuers come to your door, cite your sorry behind for federal violations and see you in court.

We dutifully did the soccer thing with the daughter all those Saturdays for seven years. But I could not tell you a thing about how futbol is played. If the offsides penalty is not the most judgment-call rule in sports, I'll explain the infield-fly rule to your Polish grandma.

All age-ism and furriner-bashing aside, soccer is clearly a lot of fun and great exercise. I've got nothing against it beyond my own incomprehension. Kids need soccer fields.

Amazingly, though, a local group is going up against the soccer lobby through its Web site,

The group is fighting to reverse the 2003 Pasadena City Council approval of a plan to build fields up above Devil's Gate Dam.

"The plan eventually adopted by the City Council at 1 a.m. shattered a carefuly crafted consensus that had been worked out by an extensive community planning effort that had gone on for six years," it says on the site. "At the behest of one council member and without staff, cost or environmental review, another massive field was plopped in the midst of a wetland area on the edge of the Arroyo Seco streamzone. The late night decision went far beyond the community consensus and the analysis in the environmental impact report."

Mmm. I think they might mean former Councilman Paul Little, but I know that both Councilman Steve Madison and former Councilman Bill Crowfoot were strong advocates for more youth soccer fields as well.

Whichever side you're on, it's fun to go to the site and see who's signed and read the comments. "There are other places for soccer fields. Hahamongna is rare. Soccer fields are not," writes the Pasadena photographer Petrea Burchard.

"The soccer fields should be located in the Central Arroyo where there's plenty of hardscape just begging to be replaced with grasses and permeable surfaces," writes the architect Laurie Barlow.

That one resonates with me. De-pave the Rose Bowl parking lots, build fields and park on the turf game days. The delicate golf course handles the tailgating, after all.

More Arroyo : Though the Public Works sign said the Rose Bowl Loop would close through April 29 for repaving, it's really only closed in tiny sections, and remains fully open after 5 p.m.