Matt’s Letter to the Editor of The Falmouth Enterprise

Regarding Unstructured Sports

IMG_1327Unstructured sports, or pick-up games as we use to call them when I was a kid, are great for building organization, cooperation and leadership according to recent research1.  We just picked teams and played, but in the process, we called balls and strikes, who was safe or not, who carried or made a foul on the court, touchdowns, pass interference and clipping, all pretty much by consensus.  There was a lot of negotiating and if they wanted to, everybody played regardless of age or sex.  This kind of interaction is lacking in the world of today’s youth.

It worked most of the time.  When it didn’t work by consensus or when the older kids couldn’t settle an argument over a controversial call, it rarely–but only rarely–ended up in a fight.  Nobody was actually hurt aside from a bloody nose.  We learned how to negotiate with our peers.  We knew what we couldn’t get away with on the field.  It worked and they were some of the best days of my life.  We would be out there, weather permitting, almost every day because it was fun.  And as much fun as we were having, we were also engaging in the first real social contract of our lives.  Allowing kids to navigate these social experiences and trusting them to negotiate with each other helps them physically, mentally and socially succeed.

When I mentioned this at the discussion about bringing new life to the Recreation Center, I never had a chance to respond to Sandy Cuny, who I respect and admire for her civic dedication.  I wanted to say that the audience that might be attracted to this type of unstructured play would most likely be teens and young adults up into their thirties in the evenings.  Young children unaccompanied by an adult or sibling would be allowed to participate in the evenings but might be better suited to a supervised session after school until about 6.  This was the way it was when I first moved here in 1980 and it seemed to work well.  Can it be resurrected?  Now more than ever, we need a safe place for our kids of all ages to interact with each other in positive ways.  Parents don’t feel as good about letting their children roam freely as long as they’re home on time for dinner, which is precisely why we need to dedicate this space to the people who have the best opportunities ahead of them: our kids.  Let’s help them make themselves the people we know they can be.

My regards to Coach Phil Alfonso for organizing the session and all the parents concerned enough to attend.

Matt Patrick

1Tom Jacobs, The Value of Unstructured Play Time for Kids (Pacific Standards, 2014) 

Press Release- Matt Patrick to Participate in “From Service to Politics” Forum at Massachusetts State House


January 12, 2016


CONTACT: Zelda MacGregor, 774.269.8867,

Matt Patrick to Participate in “From Service to Politics” Forum at Massachusetts State House

Falmouth- Matt Patrick, candidate for the 3rd Barnstable District State Representative seat, will participate in the From Service to Politics Forum at the Massachusetts State House to discuss leadership in public policy  after serving  in the Military, Peace Corps or AmeriCorps.  Congressman Seth Moulton will address the attendees before several breakout sessions discussing public service followed by a group discussion.  Patrick will lead one of the breakout sessions at the request of an event sponsor, Peace Corps to Politics.  The event is Friday, January 22 5-7pm and is open to the public.

Patrick served in the Peace Corps in Ghana where he taught masonry and brick making from 1977 to 1979.  “The Peace Corps was one of the defining experiences in my life.  It changes how you view the world and the people in it and it definitely informs choices I make as a public servant or volunteer,” Patrick said.

Kristina J. Owens, Co-Founder of Peace Corps to Politics and a returned Peace Corps volunteer, reached out to Patrick to participate in the event because of his previous terms as a State Representative and time in the Peace Corps.  “Peace Corps to Politics believes that Alumni bring a positive perspective to public policy and political leadership. We feel it’s an important perspective in our current political climate,” Owens said.

Patrick served as the 3rd Barnstable District’s State Representative for five consecutive terms 2000-2010 and worked with constituents on issues of public safety, health and clean energy.  He has been a constant volunteer presence on Cape Cod since the early 80’s working with groups to protect and preserve the Quashnet River, Waquoit Bay, to address the homelessness problem on Cape and to establish the Cape Cod Commission.

For more events or information about Matt Patrick and his campaign, please visit


Matt (Bottom, Left) during his time in Ghana.
Matt (Bottom, Left) during his time in Ghana.


Throwback Thursday, Cape Cod Commission Edition!

It’s Throwback Thursday!
Did you know that Matt was the Co-chairman and Treasurer of the Coalition for the Cape Cod Commission Act? Matt, along with other volunteers, campaigned hard all over Cape Cod to earn the support of 76% of voters on the ballot initiative that created the Commission!
The Cape Cod Commission gives citizens and Towns the opportunity to engage with developers on even footing and takes into account the economic and environmental impact a new development could make. This positive approach to land use policy is a great tool to help keep our communities local and vibrant.
This is the original woodcut print by Matt that was used as the campaign poster and post card. Pretty cool, huh?!