Life in the Hoop's Shadow
The fact is, no one is saying basketball is bad ["Where Hoop Dreams Die," June 30, 2010]. The problem is that some of the people who gather there to play a game are intimidating to the younger kids. They use foul language, conduct other business while at the park, and have been known to cause problems in the neighborhood while walking to and from the courts.
I am a West Park resident who has complained about Impett hoops, and I also coach CYO basketball. I understand the importance of team sports, but the people causing problems are older teens and adults of all colors, not kids ages 8-15. I don't condone vandalism, but complaints have been flowing for quite some time without any long-term solutions.
If residents want basketball courts, keep them at the rec center where there is staff, and let the Police Athletic League mentor and monitor the courts — especially in the summer, when school is out. A police presence will automatically deter the players with less than good intentions. I challenge those who don't live by parks with hoops to comment because you have no idea what goes on.
Basketball and the Irish Mafia
Guess what: This is nothing new. Gunning Park, in the southern end of West Park, had nice tree-shaded hoops and benches when I moved there almost 20 years ago ... and you could see the drug thugs from the projects south of Puritas doing their thing there every evening. No surprise that the outdoor courts were replaced with indoor ones when the park's rec center reopened in '95.
Congratulations to the vigilantes who seem to think it's still 1964 in Little Italy, and they can stop cultural change in their little Emerald Isle enclave with pickup trucks or baseball bats. Not all of West Park has the Irish Mafia mentality that the good burghers of Impett Park have. Thankfully, some of us who live south of Lorain are more enlightened.
The July 14 article "Goldberg's Way," about the tenure of Plain Dealer Editor Susan Goldberg, included a statistic about the paper's declining circulation during 2008 and 2009 compared to other daily newspapers nationwide. When compared to other top 25 metropolitan newspapers, The Plain Dealer fared better: Its 11.24 percent decline in circulation in the most recent reporting period is better than the 12.58 percent decline among top 25 papers overall. The figures are supplied by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
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