Friday, August 5, 2022

Basketball Jones


I was never any good at basketball.  I don't like it.  The NCAA tournament can get interesting.  I can't say I'm an NBA fan.  Too many teams make the playoffs.  Those playoffs go on forever.  The games themselves are a mess.  The last minute often takes 15 minutes to play, at least.  Blame it on fouls and time-outs.

Having said that, reading about the career and life of the late Bill Russell was simply amazing.  He was an accomplished player, coach, broadcaster and civil rights advocate.

The reason for today's entry is something closer to home.  Lackawanna County cancelled this year's 3 on 3 basketball tournament.  The tournament was done in by a lack of interest.

I don't know if this had anything to do with it, but the tournament was scheduled for McDade Park in Scranton.  It's a beautiful park, and I'm sure participants would have had a great time there.

In past years, the 3 on 3 tournament was held on Wyoming Avenue in downtown Scranton.  The county would erect temporary hoops.  They'd paint lines on the streets.  It was fun.  It was different.  Plus, let's face it.  Downtown Scranton needs something to add excitement and interest, especially on weekends.  Have you been downtown recently?  While there are several vibrant stores and restaurants, there is also a lot of empty space, especially along some of downtown's busiest intersections.  Check out Wyoming Avenue and Biden Street, formerly Spruce Street.  Nothing.  Empty.  As someone who grew up in a downtown that was a center of activity, it really hurts to see things the way they are now.  I will give developers credit for creating some really spectacular living space there.

Of course, the downtown tournament plan isn't perfect.  There are traffic issues when you close streets for a weekend.  It seems a small price to pay for bringing hundreds, maybe thousands downtown.  Downtown really needs something beside First Fridays, the Jazz Festival,  La Festa Italiana and the St. Patrick's Parade.

Lackawanna County says it will revisit the 3 on 3 concept next year.  I hope moving it back downtown is part of the mix.