It’s over 20 years since myself and a group of friends campaigned the local authority to install a basketball court in Rowntree Park. Approaching our mid teens, (and with all the associated drama of bored teenagers!) we were successful, and spent our waking hours playing basketball, socialising, and making life long friendships. This was my first real taste of creating something for the wider community, and the courts became so popular (as probably the only outdoor court in the City at the time), that we struggled to get a game sometimes!
Fast forward two decades, and the courts (now in a new location) are still as popular, with a huge range of ages and abilities using them. When a good friend of mine, local DJ Jon Baker-Hood, asked me to help him install some new nets, it was a great excuse to dust off my old basketball and head back down.
Now, basketball nets cost £15 (generously paid for by Jon himself!), but as long as I’ve known the courts they’ve only ever lasted a few months. String nets were vandalised or perished quickly, whilst the old chainlink nets were notorious for cutting your fingers (when we were young enough to be able to jump that high!). It’s a shame they’re such perishable items and no committed funding exists to maintain them, as there was a real buzz from the basketballing community across the City that ‘new nets had gone up’ – and it only took £15, half an hour’s labour, and a step ladder borrowed from the local volunteer gardeners.
For those of you no longer able to dunk, dribble at speed or hit the hoop from more than ten yards, Jon and I are considering setting up an occasional ‘veterans’ basketball get together, for the rusty 90’s kids who fancy dusting off their Starter Poppers. Drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org if you fancy it