Friday, December 30, 2005
Kids need to be on the Courts not in the Courts
Since one of my great interests is sports of all kinds three different items converged today to create this posting.
First was lunch at "Majors Sports Cafe" in Apple Valley, Minnesota with my former colleague Jack. Majors is the current restaurant in what was once the "Balimbi Bay" restaurant. My hope was that Majors would be a great venue and future hang out for me since it is close to my home but sadly I must rate them with a "2" rating for a number of reason -- lack of staff training, marginal food, and MOST important; a total lack of ambiance requisite for a sports bar. Granted Majors recently opened but the walls were blank -- no sports paraphernalia at all!! But perhaps even more telling the TVs were only playing ESPN and ESPN2 which suggests they did not install satellite TV to provide a wider range of sports programming for their guests.
Following lunch I re-read today's newspaper with a particular focus on the tragic story of Samuel McClain of Milwaukee, Wisconsin who is in critical condition as I typed this posting. The cause of Mr. Clain's injuries was -- "a group of as many as 15 youths punched, kicked, and jumped on McClain after he honked for them to move out of the streets." This bothers me on so many different levels and of course I could lay partial blame on politicians like former Vice President Al Gore's "anti-suburban sprawl" policies with their bias being having all of us live in Soviet style high rise apartments/public housing projects. Since I spent a week working in inner city Milwaukee in 1999 I have some insights regarding the urban blight in that city which served as the tinder for this bonfire of youth violence.
My best wishes go to Mr. McClain and his family as they recover from this tragedy. Undoubtedly some "tax the rich and keep the poor in government slavery" politician in Wisconsin will call for Clintonesque "Midnight Basketball Leagues", expanded government day care, and expanded Head Start programs that begin at conception ;) but let me offer an alternative.
I hope the Milwaukee community harnesses the positive power of sports competition by adopting a model such as the very noble Playing for Peace -- http://www.playingforpeace.org - program which was created to establish basketball schools to help kids and adults primarily in war torn areas such as Northern Ireland and Israel/Palestine, "how to play together and get along" with each other.
Milwaukee's civil society needs to step forward with similar innovative, private sector/non-profit programs. When we witness 15 children nearly kill a man simply for honking his car horn for them to clear the street we need to look within ourselves for solutions not to government bureaucrats to solve such criminal behavior.