I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Desecrated Tennis Courts

One rainy day last week, I ran a few errands during lunch. As I got close to the park I used to play tennis in as a young boy, I decided to stop for a minute and see what condition the courts were in. I’ve blogged about these courts before. Here’s a little of what I said about them in one post:

They were dark green, with a chain link fence disguised as a net. A basketball hoop hung on one of the fences that bordered the courts and often weeds sprouted through the cracks on the courts. One of the courts was set in the side of a hill, so it was surrounded by a cement wall. We preferred that court for some reason. I think it was because the ball made a cool echoing sound every time we struck it.

I should have added, “And at twelve years old, cool matters.”

The last time I stopped by these courts, a sign hung from the fence letting the public know that no guns were allowed on the court.

Yeah, it’s in that type of neighborhood.

The “no guns” sign was no longer there (it was probably stolen), but I was upset by what I ran across: spray-painted vulgarities all over the courts and the rock wall surrounding them. I took photos and planned to post them here, but then I thought it would be ridiculous to give thugs free advertising for their gangs, so I refrained.

I probably should have expected to see the vulgarities and the graffiti. A number of gangs frequent the area of town I live in and seeing graffiti on road signs and the sides of buildings is commonplace. But seeing it on the tennis court I spent so many summer days on really bummed me out.

My mom didn’t think anything about allowing me to play tennis on those courts for hours at a time with one of my friends. My friend's parents didn’t have any concerns either. I wonder how many kids play tennis in that park now? From the looks of things, very few. And I certainly understand why.

Yeah, the era I grew up in was different. But still.

Seeing this makes me want to do something about it--like cleaning up the court and working through an organization to give free tennis lessons to kids there. My time is so limited, but it would be worth the sacrifice.


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