WickedEye's Quotient

5/30/2010 at 19:19


As some of you may know, I recently decided to acknowledge the fact I've a body again. This has involved refitting, body work, and some engine rebuilding. Basketball was always going to be a part of that.

It's the only team sport I've ever enjoyed (even though I only started playing because my mother made me)
and the only one I've ever been good at. I also grew up with it. My brother was a serious player, as were my mom's friends in med schoolsome of them even played college ball. Watching them play, occasionally playing with them, was incrediblea living testimony to what a human body can do. (And very occasionally, exhilarating as hell. Making a shot past a 6'4" guy who played forward for LSU? It's happened only once in my entire life, but I will remember it forever.)

That was the hoop in our driveway, though. We've lived in East Nashville pretty much since I was 13 years old, but my mom lives in the swanky "historic" section now
moved in quite a while ago, thank you, before the yuppies discovered itand there're no driveways here. (A carriagewayliterallyevery once in a while, but otherwise no.) So when I asked Sunil to come play basketball with me while I was at home, I expected we'd go down to East Parkless than 2 blocks from our houseand play there. Or, for old times' sake, go down and play at the Community Center in Shelby Park. Simple.

Only one thing I hadn't considered: the "swanky" part of the Edgefield address.

So when Sunil told me this morning, after I asked about playing ball with him, that there were no more outdoor hoops in East Nashville, my response was a bewildered, "What the
huh?" (Granted, I hadn't yet had any coffee.)

And then I parsed it. Outdoor hoops mean kids can play ball. Any kids, from anywhere
there's no way to control who uses a hoop on public property. And that means that the kids down the waythe kids from the 'hood six blocks overcould come over and play.

Apparently, this prospect is unacceptable.

I'm not a race conspiracy theorist
meaning, racism doesn't occur to me as the first explanation for most things that make me lift my brows. I do, however, have a very good understanding of the concept of hegemonythe dynamic which makes institutionalized "cultural dominance" (read: "racism") practically a political inevitability (though it can, in most democratic systems, be combated to some degree). I also, as an accompaniment to my studies in international humanitarian law, study psychologyboth cognitive and evolutionary.

There's also the part where I pay attention to the people around me.

And the part where I grew up in the South.

I could dismiss the decision as merely aesthetic
hoops take upkeepif there weren't, now, elaborate playground equipment in East Park that takes a lot more. If there weren't hoops inside the state-of-the-art and and rather snazzy-looking East Community Center just off the park. And if that community center didn't charge a buck a pop for each and every kid walking through its doors.

That doesn't sound like a lot to you. Even I, notoriously broke student that I am, could spend a buck a day to play ball and never miss it.

But for a kid? Especially a kid from a low-income family? A buck a day for a month pays for a pro ball, and all the free ball she can play with it at the neighborhood hoops for at least a year and a half.

But not in the place that taught me about basketball. Not here.

Labels: , , , ,

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs2.5 License.