Dreams, hooped - The Orca
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Dreams, hooped

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We’re giving kids mixed messages: not too much screentime, get outside and be healthy – but also, don’t play outside in the summer, lest someone hear you.

Like many Canadians, our family is deep in the afterglow of the Toronto Raptors’ NBA Championship.

Canadians are suddenly enthralled with Kawhi Leonard’s whereabouts, even now that he’s gone home to California to be a Clipper. We care what former Raptor Danny Green felt about his experience in Vancouver, calling the downtown east side “the worst neighbourhood in North America.”

We find ourselves invested. We care.

More than anything else, we have collectively looked up from our phones long enough to see the hoop dreams are real, and kids are testing their basketball chops.

With that in mind, we need to discuss how nuts it is for governing bodies to pull down hoops – for next to no reason at all.

Were you as appalled as we were at the viral videos out of Ontario where basketball hoops were being removed from city parks? At the notion that vehicles for fitness were an issue…because some residents complained about noise.

Ontario…please.

Fast forward to this past weekend. A couple of short weeks into our entitled summer already filled with Playland, Kits Pool, Lynn Canyon, Whistler…we turned to the local elementary to shoot hoops and — no bueno.

Hoops are gone here. Gone. Taken down by the School Board (according to intel from the 11-year olds in my world) and, as of last week, the swings too.

Computing.

Computing.

Tilt.

Just so we have this straight: the healthy, active things we can do, at no cost, with our kids are a nuisance. Taxpayers pay for schools, playgrounds, parks – and yet they are unavailable in the summer months. The very things that get our kids’ heart rate up, off screens, and fit are removed in summer — precisely when it’s not dark and rainy.

Why? Why would you take down hoops during the few months where they aren’t dripping with rain or hanging in darkness? Who makes THIS decision? Who do we call?

I asked the 11-year olds; they said “they don’t like the teenagers playing late.”

Apologies, but there is very little Middle here. We’re talking about a free – so, not 5:00am on a Wednesday ice time for two grand, or a private indoor soccer or baseball coaching camp — recreational activity that requires nothing more than a ball. It’s off the table because…it’s too noisy?

This is nuts.

Heaven forbid we hear the ring off the rim, or cheers and jeers in the evening. Best take it down. Let’s get those teens back on their phones, or sitting at the picnic tables in the park to vape and smoke pot, STAT.

What has happened to our city? Taking down basketball nets tells me that we have lost our way…or that the wrong people are in charge of such things.

Restore the hoops. Hoop dreams matter – now more than ever.

 

Jody Vance is a born and raised Vancouverite who’s spent 30 years in both local and national media. The first woman in the history of Canadian TV to host her own sports show in primetime, since 2011 she’s been working in both TV and radio covering news and current affairs.

 

SWIM ON