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Respect the Court: a Role Model for Youth

We need more youth in the world like this young man in the navy track suit.

Turns out that the San Francisco Parks and Recreation department has begun a policy of quasi-privatization of public spaces (in this case, a community soccer mini-field). Local youth and local yuppie techies (apparently representing Dropbox and Airbnb) clash in this video, with the latter having actually booked the space for $27. Arguably, they should have expected rules to be rules.

Yet, in the absence of a formal dispute resolution process, no park managers to enforce bookings, and a municipal parks and recreation system that has clearly found itself affected by technological externalities, this young gentleman becomes the voice for the entire sports field, and a great role model for his community.

It’s easy for us as on-lookers to simply point and virtuously suggest that we would have done something special or differently, or in my case, to even comment. Yet, I can find parallels with my own basketball community. Over the years playing pick-up, there is inevitably someone or some group that will challenge the established order which has seemingly been around since the Roman Empire. Yes, please tell me more about how you’re so much more special then the lot of us, who have been playing here forever and know each other. Tell us how you are the buck which the trend has been waiting for, or how you should play before everyone else. Without fail, the court rules will always win – they’ve simply been there longer.

Why? It has to do with respect. Put plainly, respect for the court.

At 4:10 of the video, the informally-reached solution is established: follow the rules of the court – suit up 7 players and wait your turn. You win, you play on. You lose, you wait some more. That, or “you guys can have this stand off for the next 30 minutes”.

2 points of note here:

1) It’s a real shame that the elder yuppies didn’t resort to this level-headed approach, or think of another approach that was fair to everyone involved. They would have likely scored points with the community there, met some cool kids in the neighbourhood, and not perpetuated any previously-held notions of who they might have been. Once they got there and had realized that there was no enforcement mechanism, the only course of action is to respect the court, and take the issue of your money up with the city.

2) The techies could very well have had their asses kicked (literally) on another day. They were outnumbered. In the end, they ended up playing, but not without a whole lot of unnecessary shame.

A big TPM shout out to the young man for being the true voice of the community. He acted not only as a great role model for the young ones, but also for those who should have known better.

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