The three alternatives refer to how things have changed now with the virus among us. New rules have now been enacted to provide guidance before returning to a new normalcy. We know what for now we must abdicate: all sports conducted indoors. Bowling too I’m afraid. All sports that are body contact, sports that share a ball, team sports of every sort and all sports played in close proximity with others. No huddles, no scrums and no boxing out. These, for the time being, we must abdicate and abandon. Sports that fans attend as spectators and congregate at the ballpark are a thing of the past and perhaps the future but not the present.
Some sports are tolerable - even before the epidemic - and a few could be modified or adjusted for participation during the virus plague. They are to be tolerated rather than embraced because they are not inclusionary or diverse and player-ship is limited in meeting the recreational needs of only a small percentage of the population. These sports include tennis, pickleball and the like whereat players are of the same skill level.
They are not well suited for diversity or for families or for drop-in participation by wheelchair users, individuals with autism, mobility issues, or with other limitations including restrictions as we age. Nevertheless, in stages or phases with new behaviors understood and assured, the net sports can be played with participants at a distance - and with only family members really - according to prepared arrangements and with a new set of etiquette. These are sports played out-of-doors even as they exclude far more than they include.
The third category is advocacy. Long walks along the trail, taking the family fishing, horseback riding perhaps, these are obvious with proper precautions. What else is out there that really works well and merits advocacy for ball playing sports without boxing out, pushing and shoving, without passing the ball to one another, without close interacting with one another, without offense and defense and with sufficient distance between participants? Bankshot Sports. Before gradual, deliberate, return to conventional sports: Step one, phase one, must be sports played by participants at a distance.
Bankshot basketball, in particular, is played with a basketball or any ball in a game without opponents. The challenge is in the course itself, self-competitively played with or without any other participants. Think of minigolf with a basketball and participants proceeding from station to station that are 6 feet or more apart. The sport requires making difficult trick shots that become increasingly more challenging as one proceeds through the course of exceptionally attractive structures called Bankboards.
Hundreds of these Bankshot facilities have been provided by communities in neighborhood parks for all to enjoy while moving their bodies and acquiring the necessary skills as in every other sport. There are tens of thousands of Bankshot players throughout the country and abroad. There should be many more of these Bankshot facilities and other sports built upon the model of inclusion and diversity exemplified by self competitive “alongside” participation in sports.
Where are the innovative, creative designers and recreational architects upon whom we can call to bring about many sports and recreational facilities that are self competitively played, now that the virus is among us? Our playgrounds and playfields are extremely out of balance providing for the aggressive, highly competitive, body contact opponent-based team-oriented defeat-others sports. Our communities need many other diverse sports facilities and recreational opportunities for which we can and should advocate. There should be, like Bankshot, many others: self competitive, mainstreaming, inclusive and purposefully integrative such that all members of a community, not only the athletes and the jocks, can be accommodated safely.