Elmington Park: A Review



In Short:

Location: On West End just the other side of 440
Size of Park: Large
Crowds: Crowded
Approximate Age of Patrons: All ages
Topics of Conversation: How to make a sword suitable for LARPing
Stray Dogs Seen: None
Types of Vehicles in Parking Lots: All kinds
Perceived Safety: High
Number of Gunshots Heard: None
Dog Friendliness: Good
Number of pitbulls sighted: None
Accessibility: Limited
Incorporation of Local History: Some
Recommended Patrons: Apparently everyone and their uncle

I wouldn't, at first glance, call Elmington Park a great park. It's basically a huge field that dips into a ditch, with good parking.

But there's something nice about realizing that a very urban part of town could use a park which has, as its primary feature, just a lot of empty green space. And really, looks can be deceiving. Up by the school is a huge playground with an area for older kids and an area for younger kids, plus tennis courts. And the field is divided into different areas. There's an area with some new trees for people to walk their dogs and a baseball field and a huge flat area where people were playing soccer when I first got there and one lone dude was playing rugby later (and, folks, there is not much sadder in this world than one lone dude playing rugby with himself).

There are good places to just lay out and get some sun. And, on almost any other Sunday, you can find whole armies of Live Action Role Players (LARP) fighting each other in the grass on the west side of the park.

This Sunday, I only found one LARPer, but she generously walked me through the basics of fighting with swords. The most important thing I learned is not to stick your sword-hand elbow too far out or you make it very easy for someone to chop it off. Also, I learned that getting hit with a sword, even a homemade foam-duct-tape-and-PVC sword, is not pleasant. But it is fun.

Some guys had also set up a Frisbee golf goal and were not doing a very good job of getting their Frisbees in it. And, later when I was leaving, some kids had shown up with a football.

It's this ability of Elmington Park to somehow hold all of these vastly different activities, all in sight of each other, that makes it a unique park. Any larger and the people on the tennis courts would have no sight of the ball diamond. Any smaller and the rugby guy and the soccer players would be in each others' way. But as it stands right now, you can come to Elmington Park, do your own thing — or nothing, if you prefer — and feel like you're hanging out with the people in your city.

It's almost like Elmington Park is Nashville's backyard. It's not fancy, but it's a great place to hang out and enjoy the company of your fellow Nashvillians.

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