To Whom It May Concern,
On Saturday, February 22nd at around 1:00 pm my friend and I had our children playing at the park. Because it was so busy, she suggested we go over to the basketball courts and let the kids play a little before we left. We waited for a few minutes and then the game that was being played seemed to be over and a new game started on the half-court, leaving the other side open. There were a few other children, as well as our four children that began to play and shoot hoops. Keep in mind, our children range in age from three to nine-years old.
Suddenly, a group of men came rushing toward our children and knocked the three-year old to her hands and knees. The rest of the kids were scared and ran toward us. At that point, both my friend and I were very upset. Our children were treated as though they weren't even there. So we confronted them and asked them to go back to the other side of the court.
A man, wearing a black shirt, black shorts and knee braces, started yelling at us.
"We're playing full-court! We just picked teams!"
I screamed back, "Our kids were playing there. You just can't come running over here like that!"
"No, this is a grown-up game. No kids on the court!"
At that point, my friend's son was screaming, "I'm scared, Momma! I'm scared!" Then my friend got very emotional. Some his friends suggested they move back to the half-court, but he was having none of that.There was a nice gentleman who stood between him and me because of how aggressive he was acting toward us.
"Go home!" he said, swatting his arm out to dismiss us. "Yeah! Your kid's scared. Take him home! People like that are always scared in situations like this. Go get a tissue for your little boy. Go home. Go home. This is our court. Go home."
I felt as though I had to stand my ground, because it's not fair. It's not right what he did. Stomping over and knocking a child down, yelling at us. Taunting us to call the police because there's nothing they can do to him since he never touched us.
"What? You need a name?" he said, as I got my phone out to call someone to come help us. "I didn't do nothing," he said and went back to his game.
We went to the police who were monitoring the Rangerover stuck in the lake. They told us that he was right. There was nothing they could do. We were instructed not to expect all people to hold the same values as we do. That life will be easier when we realize that not all people should be expected to be nice.
Then I went and found the Park Ranger. He seemed to have heard about the incident. He listened to me, and sympathized, but also offered a suggestion that the people who play over there think they own the court--as if we should just be forewarned, the basketball courts aren't for us.
I get it. He didn't do anything illegal. But something about this is just plain wrong. Those men don't own the court. They don't have the right scream at us, scare us, scare our children.
I'd actually like to go have a picnic on the basketball court one day with all of my friends to send the message that those men do not own that court. They don't have the right to barrel over us and then tell us there's nothing we can do about it.
What do you think? What would you have done?