It's rather disconcerting to walk into the monthly beat meeting and see an 'alien' from another neighborhood on the front row. It's happened in the past if there was a pressing issue or request to be made - but tonight was just another little tactic.
What's the tactic? I'm not sure, but it can't be for any good purpose! It's often difficult enough getting through a meeting agenda when some aren't sensitive about 'group time'. But for an outsider who should have read about the Gale School greenhouse plants on the blogs last year, it's terribly suspicious. Even worse was the repeated questioning about basketball for the youth. Gee Spyman, kids up here NOH play basketball year round - especially in the summer. Yes, as you were informed, they have tournaments too. You see, there isn't much for young people to do here. Many of them are afraid to cross gang turf to attend summer activities at Loyola Field House or heaven forbid, Pot Park. So they just hang out and play basketball or worse yet, meet all the wrong people.
One senior gentleman asked me after the meeting if his statement about kids doing something more positive wasn't clear. I assured him it was very clear - that's why it went straight through the alien's ozone layer.
We had our usual discussion about the need for other outlets that educate, enlighten and they aren't found on a basketball court. Surely there's more than one kid who doesn't like playing basketball or has anyone ever thought about it? We hear it, read it, headline after blaring headline that our schools aren't up to par, kids can't read, bla bla bla. It's endless. So is there a reason to steer kids to basketball instead of a summer reading program? Why not have computer programs at DevCorp's free computers?
More importantly, is there a good reason money can be available for one expensive 'end of summer' political picnic that would be better spent taking kids on summer outings?
How many kids NOH have seen the 'bean' in Millennium Park or watched the fountains change faces, or enjoyed the cool water on a hot day? Have they experienced any of these sites? There's also the zoo and conservatory, free days at the museums...the list is longer than any basketball court.
It would be progressive and positive to take the list back to the secret room and tell the masters that there is much more to life than the streets NOH and hoops.