When considering how to spend my time outdoors, my mind turned fairly easily back to my youth.
Back in Rochester, New York, I spent afternoons playing basketball with my brother in our neighborhood. Our pick up games were never much to write about in terms of special skills, but they were immensely enjoyable nevertheless.
It’s a sport I’m familiar with, and my skills may be mediocre, but at least they aren’t bad, which is the case with some other sports I am just starting to pick up.
So when I began to consider how to get out of my head these last few weeks, basketball seemed like the natural choice. I found a good friend to play with and started to arrange occasional basketball hangouts: before work in the morning, on the weekends and after evening meetings were through.
But it quickly became apparent to me that basketball, which in my mind is truly America’s best sport, is the most underserved game in our neighborhood.
I have been a member of a variety of parks groups over the years. Community sporting lobbies show up hard for the track, with our strong contingency of long distance runners, and of course, to advocate for soccer fields, which is a popular choice for children, as well as adults, after work.
Our McCarren track and soccer field are being refurbished right now, as are much of the waterfront parks, including soccer fields.
McCarren on a late summer or fall weekend is soccer from morning until night. But what about the basketball courts?
American Playground has two full courts, and then there is Ericsson Park, near McCarren by the school. This park has basically no shade and just one court.
Since my summer has been emotionally challenging, I have been somewhat of an insomniac. This has served my hoop dreams well because it has meant that I can get to the courts around 8 or 9 a.m. on the few Saturdays I have opted to go.
But each time I have done this, the courts have quickly swarmed with the local bookstore basketball league, which ends up completely taking over the courts by 11 a.m.
I am not interested in playing in a big league, I just want to shoot hoops and get silly with my friends. But because of the dearth of basketball courts in our community, the effect seems to be “Join or Die.”
I believe there had been plans to include basketball courts down at the end of Franklin Street, where they are constructing the new condos and new park, but I heard a rumor that they were taken out of the plan. (And yes, I apologize for printing rumors!)
Where is the basketball lobby to advocate for more courts?
Basketball is the greatest and most fun sport there is out there, and Greenpoint needs more outdoor courts.
If you want to help me advocate for this, please let me know.