Bison On The Courts: How A Little Bit Of Community Spirit Can Improve Your Neighborhood

If you happened to be in the area of Stevenson, Maryland in April of 2005, you might have been lucky enough to catch a rare sight. Police responded to a 911 call with a report of escaped bison. The police were able to herd the bison into a tennis court, but in the courts, the bison kept running from the police, resulting in some bison aerial maneuvers as they leapt over the tennis nets and around the courts.

One can only imagine the havoc that the bison wrought on the tennis court. However, these tennis courts were owned privately, so their destruction probably only really affected the poor owners. Public tennis courts, on the other hand, are easily accessible to everyone, and so like any public structure, they suffer from a lot of wear and damage and misuse.

When it comes to maintaining a public tennis court, responsibility really relies on the members of the community. Especially with tennis nets left out in the elements, public tennis courts can show their age very quickly.

New nets and repairs are usually the responsibility of homeowners associations or city boards. However, in a lot of cases, tennis is not as popular a sport as soccer or basketball or baseball for young kids and teens, so public tennis courts tend to get less attention than some other public fields and courts.

While there’s no such thing as a “bad” sport for kids afterschool, tennis still shouldn’t be neglected in favor of other sports. In fact, a well-maintained tennis court can significantly improve the appearance of a neighborhood, and many studies show that when people live in highly manicured areas, average reports of contentment are higher, and crime rates tend to be lower.

So if you are interested in contributing to the beautification of your neighborhood, consider rallying support for the repair or maintenance of your neighborhood tennis court. Collect neighborhood funds to repaint your court, repair gates, or buy new tennis nets.

Tennis courts are frequently part of public parks. A public park is almost spoiled by an unkempt structure like a cracked tennis court or a broken down tennis net. It gives off the sense that the community doesn’t care about its public areas, which will lower citizen contentment, which can lead to higher crime rates, especially among teenagers. But if you and the other adults in your area demonstrate a real interest in maintaining your public spaces, then this will send a message of responsibility to the community to young people who might be otherwise statistically more likely to commit crimes.

And not only will you be setting a positive example by staying active in the community, but you will also encourage fitness and an interest in tennis. For many teens who express feelings of discontentment, the real issue that they are not articulating is that they are bored and inactive, whether they realize this or not.

By really exerting yourself to go out and improve your community, your teen may end up taking an interest in it because you have done so. This will give you and your teen a way to get active, and to feel a real sense of fulfillment in your activities.

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Rachel Greenberg is a freelance writer and editor in the San Diego area. She recently graduated from Johns Hopkins University where she studied English and Writing Seminars. Her most current project has led her to research and write about professional and recreational tennis.