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"Quest for a Court in Crowley Park", an Essay
As I have alluded to in the past, there's a basketball hoop I play at regularly in my neighborhood park at home. It's simple. It's in a parking lot so it's not full of people playing. It gives me time to relax and shoot hoops. Have fun. Get my mind off things.
Then again, it also has a chainlink net that's falling apart, is built into the curb so that the curb is directly under the hoop, the park behind it is built on a hill so the ball rolls all over the place, cars park right under it if I'm not there first, etc. etc. etc.
A few weeks ago I finally took the time to try to appeal to the city to get a new hoop built on a real court, perhaps a full court. Now, I guess I've been meaning to do this for years, but I never got around to it. People used to park under the hoop all the time, but I think now the regulars finally got a clue and learned not to park under it. Otherwise, this tall dark guy who plays that poor man's game, basketball, is gonna give them some harsh looks and come over to ask them to move.
Maybe the guy will kill them! We better not take that chance, and stay well out of the way.
Basketball is such an intimidating game to those who don't watch or play it. It's a game of black people and Nike clothing and expensive Jordan shoes that people will kill each other to steal. It's a game only angry, obnoxious young people play. This is the stereotype, anyway. People seem less threatened if you mention to them that you play tennis, not b-ball. :P Did you know that we actually store our crack inside the ball? Also, losing team ends up getting a drive-by later that night. Oh, and we score more points in one full game than we did on our SATs.
The way people avoid looking at you or fetching a loose ball for you is like they're scared shitless or something.
I called up the director of parks for my city to ask about how I could petition or whatever for a new goal. Basically the guy told me to write him a letter stating why a goal would be needed. Obviously he needs it for his records. I remember doing this sort of stuff in the past. It was called middle school. Write a persuasive paper on why you want me to give you this, Benjamin...
So I composed the following letter after writing to the head honcho who takes care of important tasks like basketball-goal-setting-up-for-the-neighborhood-and-finding-the-money-in-the-city-budget-to-do-so:
I was too lazy to transliterate the whole thing, so I'll just sum it up by saying that the director thanked me for expressing interest, but right now the city is in the middle of a six to seven year budget and so it won't be able to propose a new basketball goal for the budget until 2003-2004, at least.
Alright, I'm a pretty nice and patient guy. But when you're told to wait four years to get something you could put up inside of a week, you just shrug the whole thing off. Now, you as the reader may be asking, "Why is Ben writing about this? Did he really expect to get something out of this? Besides, it's not the city's fault. It has a lot of concerns to address."
Which is exactly my point for this. The city is useless. Beyond the essentials that the city manages for its residents and businesses, everything else it handles takes so long to process that the end product comes way too late and misses key windows of opportunity. I'm all for federal government and all, but the more local the government, the more responsive and fleet of foot it should be. But that's just my opinion. Maybe I'm just bitter because my city has been skimping out on equipment for our park ever since we moved here in 1986. Heck, where are those tennis courts we were told we would get? Why is the pond filthy? Etc. etc.
To which some may respond, "At least you have a park with a pond..." Well, fuck you, that's beside the point. This isn't about how lucky I am, it's about how shitty the city is towards our park.
And all this just confirms that in order to get anything done in this country, you have to go to businesses, not cities or states. Not that they're always benevolent, but they certainly get the wheels spinning faster. Businesses make things happen. So maybe I should give it the old college try to call some local sports company and ask them if they'd sponsor a new court built somewhere nearby or something. Pressure the city into giving them permits and shit like that.
The company looks good because it sponsors a court for the kids to play, and it gains a presence in the local area. The city looks good because it'll actually have a decent park.
I know. It would be a long shot. Heck, it's at least worth a try. Never underestimate the power of a young person on his summer break. Right? Surrre.
Oh well, no new Ben Turner Commemorative Basketball Court of Crowley Park for me anytime soon.
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