Basketball Practice: Variations on a Theme

Old wooden stage of a former elementary school

During basketball practice, I spend most of the time looking down at my phone rather than watch my kid’s every move. I feel bad about this, but I try to watch the important parts.

Black and White kids playing basketball in

Glancing up, I see the kids running, dribbling, shooting, passing, traveling, shouting, laughing, and looking up farther I see the old windows of the community center, a former elementary school. The gym was renovated over the summer, so the peeling paint and holes in the ceiling and walls are gone.

Elsewhere in the old building you’ll still see missing floor tiles, sinks and fountains with no water, fraying carpet, holes and stains. Outside you’ll still see the seperate entrances marked Girls and Boys, as well as rusted gutters and fallen drainpipes. Rumors are always going around that the place will be shut down because at this point it’s too badly neglected to be repaired.

Old wooden stage of a former elementary school

Looking down, past my phone, I see the old floor of the stage on which I sit each week. I am a part of the scenery, along with other parents, coats, and water bottles, as little sisters and brothers tread the boards.

Sometimes I think of my old elementary school, which had a similar multi-purpose room—our gym, cafeteria, and stage, was the same space used for dismissal where we lined up for the buses each day. In first grade I was in a play about the seasons and I got to walk across the stage with my slicker and umbrella while I spoke about the rain in spring.

Once we had an assembly about Earth Science and the performers told us all about global warming and the shrinking ozone layer and acid rain. “It will be up to your generation to fix it,” they said.

Fix it? I don’t think we’re doing a good job.

I read the news on my phone and feel bad about it, and I try to pay attention to the important parts. Rumors are always going around that the place will shut down once its too badly neglected to be repaired.

I hope we find a way to fix it and save what must be saved.

Variations on a theme

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