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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Basketball court as a therapeutic canvas

Latest NewsBasketball court as a therapeutic canvas

Every time Ana Cabello, 25, from Vitoria, and Cristina Gomez, 24, from Madrid, restore a basketball field, the first thing they do with volunteers is to mark the ground with strips of sticky tape. In this type of court there are always circles and semicircles, perpendicular and parallel stripes and other figures that mathematicians love because of their geometry. And the most important thing in this framework is the lines. The adhesive tape is used to protect your layout and turn your playing surface into a well defined canvas. “Paint the message” – Paints the message – reads the phrase printed on the sweatshirt, which Gomez chose for this sunny day after several rainy ones. And the message, in this case, the court. Judgment as a symbol of transformation. “Art and sport as engines of social change,” reads the shirt worn by Cabello.

To resurrect the court and Vitorian Park where we are, Jump The Line, a non-profit association jointly run by this pair of basketball enthusiasts, has restored the shapes and tones of the river, which is no longer visible. where people fished and washed their clothes when there were orchards instead of buildings. And on another field 10 minutes away, triangles and confetti painted on a black background triumph among groups of boys and girls and inspire retirees to gymnastics.

The seed that inspired these interventions was the Backboard project, an initiative by Dan Peterson, a former Major League Basketball franchise employee who recognized the need to revitalize the surrounding fields, and this color is a kind of vibe. that you feel throughout your body. “When you fill in gray areas that have been degraded with color, you create a positive dynamic,” explains Cabello. “You make them more inclusive spaces. You make people identify with them.”

The projects that Cabello and Gomez have captured on the sidewalk are the work of local artists and attempt to capture the feel of the environment of each community they work with. And the nets for tying the hoops were ordered from a manufacturer who, thanks to the skillful hands of the Galician redeiras, rescues broken nets from the bottom.

Cabello recalls that when they barged into the park where we met, the woman invited them over for donuts and hot coffee so she wouldn’t catch a cold. There, they engaged the city council, some businesses, other community organizations, a nearby nursing home, and two educational centers. They contributed to intergenerational dialogue. And the neighbors began to talk with people from the microdistrict all their lives. And last February in Madrid, at the La Salle La Paloma school, “even the headmaster started painting,” Gomez says. There, they took care of the patio, which was hit by the shock wave of an unexpected gas leak that destroyed an adjacent building and claimed the lives of four people.

From the air, from a bird’s eye view, each of the basketball courts they restored looks like a painting: hypnotic, large-scale, almost symmetrical. Wrapped in a silent and somewhat ethereal silence. But what matters after a job well done,” Cabello concludes, “is that the neighbors come and thank you.”

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