My family lives on a small mountain in a suburb of Little Rock, Arkansas, and behind our home is a city green space with a small basketball court and walking trail. Throughout our city are several of these basketball courts and trails.
The court by our house is fairly ignored. Because it is at the base of a hill, it floods during rainstorms, so my husband took it upon himself to dig a drainage canal to divert the water off the court into the creek that runs beside it.
We also called the city last year and asked them to put a net on the rim because there was none. They said that as time and money allowed they would get to it, so we bought one and put it on the rim ourselves.
Every two weeks or so, my husband goes down to the basketball court and blows it off with a backpack blower to keep the court clear of debris. We feel like the court is almost an extension of our backyard, so we try to treat it well.
On April 6, my 12-year-old daughter was playing basketball alone at the court, as she often does, when a city truck drove over to her. She quickly came home to get me. I headed down to the court to talk to the city workers, who told me that they were taking down the basketball rim to keep groups from gathering.
I was really conflicted by this news. On the one hand, I am really glad that our city is still employing the folks who work for the Parks and Recreation Department. On the other hand, this basketball court is seldom used by anyone besides my three children and is never used by a crowd. It is a public court that my tax dollars pay for.
I called the mayor to discuss it with him, and he said he considered basketball courts closed because all playground equipment in city parks had been roped off about a week and a half before. It was brought to his attention that children were still playing on basketball courts, so he had the rims removed.
On a local city forum, community members have been upset that children are outside during school hours. Our local schools have been closed for several weeks now, and they will not open again until next school year.
The children who attend public schools have assignments and meetings during school hours, so some people do not understand why kids would be outside before three o’clock. They are asking for a curfew during public school hours and in the evening. Thankfully, the mayor is resisting the curfew, but the basketball court is not as lucky.
My children are homeschooled. My daughter prefers to wake up before anyone else and do about half of her school work before 8 a.m. when the house is quiet. Because of this, she is finished with her work before lunchtime.
It would be wonderful if after five hours of diligently working on school, I could allow her to go play some basketball at a court that I can see from our window and that my tax dollars pay for, but this liberty has been stripped away.
Our suburb is not under a stay-at-home order, but many businesses have been mandated to close such as gyms and hair salons. Public places such as Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Little Rock and libraries are closed. However, because we are not under a stay-at-home mandate, the decision to keep a business open often is at the discretion of the local business.
For instance, my dentist will not do a routine teeth cleaning and many doctors have postponed important surgeries, but the local abortion facility is happy to continue murdering babies. Meanwhile, our local hospital has laid off workers because they have no patients.
Arkansas is a state with a population of 3.014 million people. At the time I am writing, 21 people in my state have died and there are 841 active Covid-19 cases, which is less than 0.028 percent of the population. The total number of Covid-19 patients who are currently hospitalized is 73 in Arkansas, with 31 patients on ventilators out of the 750 total in the state.
My daughter’s response was, “Well, they can take away my library, and they can take away my basketball goal, but they can’t take away my piano.”