A Few Things You Should Know About School Basketball Courts [VIDEO]
A Few Things You Should Know About School Basketball Courts [VIDEO]
When I was a teenager roaming around Cottonwood, CA in the late 80’s and early 90’s trying to find something constructive to do with my time, I would invariably end up at one of the local school basketball courts.
To be fair, this predates the Internet and intense video gaming (although I invested hundreds of hours playing Double Dribble on my Nintendo console). Back then when my friends and I were bored, we went outside to shoot hoops, ride bikes, or play two-hand-touch football.
And as much as we loathed our time in the classroom at school, the primo spots in town to find a pick up basketball game was at the local elementary or junior high school outdoor basketball courts.
But times have changed. And there are a few things you need to know about school basketball courts before you load up your gear and head out.
I took a few minutes to record a short video on the topic while surveying the basketball courts located at Grant School on the west side of Redding, CA. For regular updates, subscribe to our channel on YouTube. For my advice on finding a great place to play basketball, keep reading…
THEN AND NOW
I can remember riding my bike (and later driving my car) right up to the basketball court, lacing up my kicks, and playing ball for hours on end. Usually we ran half court 2-on-2 or 3-on-3, but many times we could have as many as 20 or 30 kids on site running full court 5-on-5 where the winners stay on the court.
I grew up in the small town of Cottonwood, about 20 miles south of Redding in Northern California. Aside from a tiny Little League Baseball facility in town, there wasn’t a whole lot going on with recreational sports. Certainly, nothing like today.
Today, we have youth recreational sports leagues for kids aged 3 years old and up. Our sons and daughters can play basketball, football, baseball, soccer, volleyball, and just about any other organized sport. There are AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) clubs, YMCA leagues, city sponsored sports, and school sports have expanded their reach significantly.
I should know. I have been coaching in all of them for nearly 25 years. Although my heart belongs to basketball, I also coached football and even baseball one year (funny story too, but I will save it for another blog).
SAFETY, SECURITY, SURVEILLANCE
One thing you will notice about an elementary or junior high school campus now is an astounding amount of wrought iron and chain link fencing. I have surveyed a few school basketball court settings that look eerily similar to those found in a prison yard.
Fencing connects every building and structure, elevated high into the sky at times with sharp points protruding from the curved iron on top. Heavy duty locked gates are situated at entrances and exits, and cameras are tucked in under eaves and along the building walls.
If you are a middle aged adult and don’t have young children attending school, my guess is you would find the sight odd and sort of scary. It also leaves me wondering how the young children feel locked inside the walls of iron, and what their perception is of all that exists outside them.
My children did not experience this directly. Although school security certainly ramped up during their junior high and high school years, they never really knew what it was like to have their grade school classroom surrounded by bars and cyclone fencing.
Unfortunately, the world as we know it doesn’t appear to be as safe as it once was. And schools are of particular focus, as we are more determined than ever to protect our youth in their learning environment.
That’s precisely why I thought it was important to talk about Let’s Go Ball, school basketball courts, and some good, old fashioned etiquette that will keep our community safe and fun.
BE SAFE, HAVE FUN, PLAY BALL
At Let’s Go Ball, our mission is to identify and survey every basketball court in the city so you can find a place to play basketball no matter how you want to play or how many people join you. We are building a fun, socially interactive, community resource that uses modern technology as the common thread.
But we do need to make a few things clear. While many of the basketball courts you will find on the Let’s Go Ball website (and our mobile app coming in 2019) are public parks, there are also a large number of courts that reside on private property.
For example, we have surveyed several basketball courts located at area churches. Likewise, most schools have basketball courts. There is overlap between schools and churches as well, meaning that a church may function as both a school and a church at different times of the week.
In the case of schools, you might be asking “Hey, wait a minute… schools are public property right?” Technically, yes. Many schools are public properties maintained with revenue contributed by hard working tax payers like you and me. But that doesn’t necessarily mean schools are open to the public. For some clarity, here is an article explaining access to public property.
Here’s the bottom line. Rules about access to both public and private property are going to vary city by city and state by state. I will be bluntly honest when stating I don’t know all the rules, but I like to use common sense and that’s what this article is about.
Let’s Go Ball, at its core, is a directory of basketball courts sort of like Priceline.com is a directory of hotels. You should not assume that a basketball court we survey and post on our website is public property or open access. That would be an incorrect assumption, and one that might get you into some trouble. Trust me when I say the last thing we want is for you to get arrested for trespassing on private property. And I should add that if you do, we are not posting bail to get you out of jail!
Here comes the disclaimer; You are assuming 100% liability for your actions any time you visit a basketball court found on this website, and Let’s Go Ball is not liable for any injury, damage, vandalism, legal proceedings, or otherwise, as a result. Use your heads people, have fun but be respectful and be safe!
OK, enough of this legal mumbo jumbo and discourse on the depressing state of affairs when it comes to public safety. Let’s talk about how easy it is to play basketball and have fun. Here are a few simple guidelines to help you out;
OBSERVE THE RULES
Pay attention to posted signs around any park, school, church, or athletic facility and follow the rules! Watch out for posted hours of operation, public access, and parking availability. There is a fine line between breaking the rules and bending the rules. Common sense goes a long way, and although rules can be stifling, they are usually supported by good intentions. My advice is basic, don’t be a jackass!
IF YOU DON’T KNOW, ASK SOMEBODY
Especially considering schools, please take a few extra moments to call the school or visit the school office to ask about the rules and regulations for using the basketball courts on their property. You might find there are time windows for playing basketball or a quick registration process to get access. As we learn more, we’ll do our best to incorporate that info on our website.
TAKE CARE OF EQUIPMENT
I know I sound like a typical parent here, but if you take care of the equipment it will last longer and be there when you need it. That means, try to keep the rims, nets, backboards, and goals in good shape. Normal wear and tear happens, but there’s no sense in abusing the equipment. If you see something broken or on the verge of breaking, bring it to the attention of the people who maintain the basketball court.
NO DRUGS, NO DRINKING, NO VANDALISM, NO VIOLENCE
If you want to party and you’re of age, go to the bar or to the club. Don’t go to a basketball court to get high or drunk. Don’t go to a basketball court to destroy property or fight. Basketball is a great sport, and nothing upsets me more than a few knuckleheads who screw it up for the rest of us. The large majority of basketball courts on our website are family oriented, safe for young children, and they should stay that way.
TREAT IT LIKE YOUR OWN
I can tell you from experience that I have personally invested well over $10,000 in my basketball court. Actually I have done it twice at two different houses. So, it goes without saying that I appreciate and try to take care of it. Building basketball courts costs a lot of money, and if they get tore up there’s no guarantee they will be replaced. When you find a court you love, take care of it and encourage others to do so.
HELP US HELP YOU
As we expand into new cities across the country, we need your help. You know your city better than we do. To make our website better, we encourage anyone and everyone to let us know more about basketball courts in your area and help us maintain up-to-date information. If you or someone you know would like to connect with us, please do!