Basketball, anyone?

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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As Oak Park continues to wrestle with what our community should look like (especially in the age of the Black Lives Matter movement), we should reconsider our tennis courts. Yes, tennis is a COVID-friendly activity. However, its structural prevalence in parks is potentially problematic. 

When I moved to Oak Park in high school, I was perplexed by the abundance of tennis courts and paucity of basketball hoops. The few hoops that existed generally had the rims locked to discourage play. From the information I've gathered, tennis courts abound because tennis is a nice, safe, upper-middle-class pastime. Basketball is a much more accessible sport, and, as a result, is played by a larger variety of people. Basketball hoops are limited because the community does not want a certain demographic congregating in the parks, potentially making noise and causing trouble. 

All members of our community should be encouraged to enjoy our parks. We should take a closer look at how we've designed our public spaces to work toward better achieving this goal.

Chena Underhill

Oak Park

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Nick A Binotti  

Posted: July 29th, 2020 12:53 PM

Good to know I'm not alone in this sentiment. Empty tennis courts have been the scourge of parks for decades. I grew up playing wiffle ball in unused tennis courts. I wouldn't mind seeing many tennis courts converted to basketball or floor hockey, two sports with lower barriers of entry, better space utilization, and offer better chance of competition for players showing up solo (pick-up games). I'd wager a putting green would get more use too.

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