Discrimination under the lights

Blake McCartney is a Midtown resident

I have called Midtown Sacramento home for more than three years now, and in that time, I’ve become an admirer of the neighborhoods here. Throughout the decades, the city planners, in my estimation, have done a great job of designing the town. The mix of commercial and residential properties seems proportional, and the streets are arranged and named logically. In short, Midtown appears to be perfectly balanced.

Perhaps it is because of this appearance that, when a perceived inequity exists, it is very noticeable to my eye.

It is ironic that the flaw of which I write exists as an element of one of Midtown’s best assets: its parks. I enjoy playing basketball on the courts in those parks. Unfortunately, the summer days in Sacramento are so hot that it is often unthinkable to play basketball during the daytime. The ideal time to play basketball during the summer is right after nightfall. Here is where the difficulty comes in.

What do you need to play an outdoor sport at night? Lights, of course. In McKinley and Southside parks, the tennis courts have overhead lights so people can play at night, when the temperature is cooler. Yet, in both of these Midtown parks, the basketball courts—right next to those tennis courts—do not have lights. Why is this? Is tennis the only sport that can be played under lights? Or, is there, possibly, something else going on here?

Does this inequality exist because of the type of people who tend to play each sport? After all, basketball historically has been played by poorer people, and tennis has been a sport for society’s elite. Though the class distinctions have blurred throughout the years, one can look at the people on either court on any given day and see that the dichotomy still exists, to some extent.

Does the city of Sacramento only want the “tennis” class in the parks at night? Does the city worry about the kind of people that might gather on a basketball court at night?

I’m confident that the parks department of this city has a good reason for this discrepancy. However, no matter how good the reason may sound, the outcome still resembles class discrimination, which is a practice Sacramento should be above.