Another sad day
The mayor announced in the paper that the gates at Flanagan Park would be unlocked and open for the basketball courts on Fridays from 5:00 to 7:00 o’clock. I arrived around 4:30 to find about 20 adults already gathered. By 4:50 the group had grown to about 75 to 90 people of all ages [from seniors like me to grade school age children with parents]. Quite impressive on a chilly/rainy evening when a game of hoops would be the last thing on most minds.
5 p.m. came and there was no one present with a key. About 5:10, the mayor arrived, flashing a key and informing everyone about his plan for the evening on the courts like a coach about to have practice. Unfortunately, more than half the assembly were grown men and women who bristled at the tone of being talked to like children. I too, was offended by the blatant show of disrespect and superiority on his part. If this was an attempt at bridge building or a fresh start, it was on the wrong path right from the start.
Things went downhill swiftly from there. The air was abuzz with moans of resentment about the tone of voice, rejection of his plan for the evening, and the insinuation that he knew better that all of us together what was best. All things put together reeked of arrogance.
Many of us were not even there to shoot hoops. We were there as a show of solidarity with a whole community of children, adults, and parents who are faced with the threat of penalties over the summer because of the careless acts of a few people. As I departed the park I had a strong sense that hoops and basketballs are not really the issue. There is too much at steak to be beating around bushes or chasing phantoms.
There may be a part of the citizenry we expect the mayor to have all the answers [or pretend to] but, it was clear that he came to the park with an inflexible plan and no intent to listen to the voices in front of him. I would hope that approach could change in the near future for the sake of all concerned but, am not optimistic!