A 12-year-old girl was playing basketball alone on a court near her family’s home when city officials arrived and removed the hoop as part of “social distancing” enforcement.
The girl’s mother, Laura Vandercook, wrote about the episode at The Federalist (where I also have a byline). She said her family lives on “a small mountain in a suburb of Little Rock, Arkansas,” which butts up against a city green space that includes a small basketball court, a court she said is “fairly ignored.”
To emphasize how much the city ignores this particular court, Vandercook said her family used their own money to purchase a net for the basketball hoop, since it was missing. Her husband also dug a drainage canal to keep it from flooding, and regularly cleaned it of debris.
“On April 6, my 12-year-old daughter was playing basketball alone at the court, as she often does, when a city truck drove over to her. She quickly came home to get me. I headed down to the court to talk to the city workers, who told me that they were taking down the basketball rim to keep groups from gathering,” Vandercook wrote. “I was really conflicted by this news. On the one hand, I am really glad that our city is still employing the folks who work for the Parks and Recreation Department. On the other hand, this basketball court is seldom used by anyone besides my three children and is never used by a crowd. It is a public court that my tax dollars pay for.”
Vandercook wrote that she called the mayor to discuss the hoop’s removal, but he said basketball courts should be closed because all public playground equipment had been closed off for use during the coronavirus pandemic.
Further, residents of Vandercook’s community took issue with children being outside in the afternoon, as they assumed the children had enough schoolwork to keep them indoors and requested the mayor place a curfew on children during school hours and then in the evening.
“My children are homeschooled. My daughter prefers to wake up before anyone else and do about half of her school work before 8 a.m. when the house is quiet. Because of this, she is finished with her work before lunchtime,” Vandercook wrote. “It would be wonderful if after five hours of diligently working on school, I could allow her to go play some basketball at a court that I can see from our window and that my tax dollars pay for, but this liberty has been stripped away.”
The mayor, at least, appears to be resisting the curfew.
She wrote that her suburb was not under a stay-at-home order, but local, “non-essential” businesses have been forced to close – except abortion facilities.
“Arkansas is a state with a population of 3.014 million people. At the time I am writing, 21 people in my state have died and there are 841 active Covid-19 cases, which is less than 0.028 percent of the population. The total number of Covid-19 patients who are currently hospitalized is 73 in Arkansas, with 31 patients on ventilators out of the 750 total in the state,” Vandercook wrote.
At least her daughter had a wise response to The Man: “Well, they can take away my library, and they can take away my basketball goal, but they can’t take away my piano.”