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robertogreco : ymca   3

The Heresy of Zone Defense | Thomas Cummins Art & Architectural Photography | San Antonio, Tx
"Consider this for a moment: Julius Erving’s play was at once new and fair! The rules, made by people who couldn’t begin to imagine Erving’s play, made it possible. If this doesn’t intrigue you, it certainly intrigues me, because, to be blunt, I have always had a problem with “the rules,” as much now as when I was younger. Thanks to an unruled and unruly childhood, however, I have never doubted the necessity of having them, even though they all go bad, and despite the fact that I have never been able to internalize them. To this day, I never stop at a stop sign without mentally patting myself on the back for my act of good citizenship, but I do stop (usually) because the alternative to living with rules—as I discovered when I finally learned some—is just hell. It is a life of perpetual terror, self-conscious wariness, and self-deluding ferocity, which is not just barbarity, but the condition of not knowing that you are a barbarian. And this is never to know the lightness of joy—or even the possibility of it—because such joys as are attendant upon Julius Erving’s play require civilizing rules that attenuate violence and defer death. They require rules that translate the pain of violent conflict into the pleasures of disputation—into the excitements of politics, the delights of rhetorical art, and competitive sport. Moreover, the maintenance of such joys requires that we recognize, as Thomas Jefferson did, that the liberating rule that civilized us yesterday will, almost inevitably, seek to govern us tomorrow, by suppressing both the pleasure and the disputation. In so doing, it becomes a form of violence itself.

An instance: I can remember being buoyed up, as a youth, by reading about Jackson Pollock in a magazine and seeing photographs of him painting. I was heartened by the stupid little rule through which Pollock civilized his violence. It’s okay to drip paint, Jackson said. The magazine seemed to acquiesce: Yeah, Jackson’s right, it seemed to say, grudgingly, Dripping paint is now within the rules. Discovering this, I was a little bit more free than I was before, and I know that it was a “boy thing,” about privileging prowess at the edge of control and having the confidence to let things go all strange—and I know, as well, that, in my adolescent Weltanschauung, the fact that Jackson Pollock dripped paint somehow justified my not clearing the debris from the floor of my room (which usually, presciently, resembled a Rauschenberg combine). Even so, I had a right to be shocked a few years later when I enrolled in a university and discovered that Pollock’s joyous permission had been translated into a prohibitive, institutional edict: It’s bad not to drip! the art coaches said. It means you got no soul! Yikes!

Henceforth, it has always seemed to me that the trick of civilization lies in recognizing the moment when a rule ceases to liberate and begins to govern—and this brings us back to the glory of hoops. Because among all the arts of disputation our culture provides, basketball has been supreme in recognizing this moment of portending government and in deflecting it, by changing the rules when they threaten to make the game less beautiful and less visible, when the game stops liberating and begins to educate. And even though basketball is not a fine art—even though it is merely an armature upon which we project the image of our desire, while art purports to embody that image—the fact remains that every style change that basketball has undergone in this century has been motivated by a desire to make the game more joyful, various, and articulate, while nearly every style change in fine art has been, in some way, motivated by the opposite agenda. Thus basketball, which began this century as a pedagogical discipline, concludes it as a much beloved public spectacle, while fine art, which began this century as a much-beloved public spectacle, has ended up where basketball began—in the YMCA or its equivalent—governed rather than liberated by its rules."

"The long-standing reform coalition of players, fans, and professional owners would have doubtless seen to that, since these aesthetes have never aspired to anything else. They have never wanted anything but for their team to win beautifully, to score more points, to play faster, and to equalize the opportunity of taller and shorter players—to privilege improvisation, so that gifted athletes, who must play as a team to win (because the game is so well-designed), might express their unique talents in a visible way. Opposing this coalition of ebullient fops is the patriarchal cult of college-basketball coaches and their university employers, who have always wanted to slow the game down, to govern, to achieve continuity, to ensure security and maintain stability. These academic bureaucrats want a “winning program” and plot to win programmatically, by fitting interchangeable players into pre-assigned “positions” within the “system.” And if this entails compelling gifted athletes to guard little patches of hardwood in static zone defenses and to trot around on offense in repetitive, choreographed patterns until they and their fans slip off into narcoleptic coma, then so be it. That’s the way Coach wants it. Fortunately, almost no one else does; and thus under pressure from the professional game, college basketball today is either an enormously profitable, high-speed moral disgrace or a stolid, cerebral celebration of the coach-as-auteur—which should tell us something about the wedding of art and education.

In professional basketball, however, art wins. Every major rule change in the past sixty years has been instituted to forestall either the Administrator’s Solution (Do nothing and hold on to your advantage) or the Bureaucratic Imperative (Guard your little piece of territory like a mad rat in a hole). The “ten-second rule” that requires a team to advance the ball aggressively, and the “shot-clock rule” that requires a team to shoot the ball within twenty-four seconds of gaining possession of it, have pretty much eliminated the option of holding the ball and doing nothing with it, since, at various points in the history of the game, this simulacrum of college administration has nearly destroyed it.

The “illegal-defense rule” which banned zone defenses, however, did more than save the game. It moved professional basketball into the fluid complexity of post-industrial culture—leaving the college game with its zoned parcels of real estate behind. Since zone defenses were first forbidden in 1946, the rules against them have undergone considerable refinement, but basically they now require that every defensive player on the court defend against another player on the court, anywhere on the court, all the time."

"James Naismith’s Guiding Principles of Basket-Ball, 1891
(Glossed by the author)

1) There must be a ball; it should be large.
(This in prescient expectation of Connie Hawkins and Julius Erving, whose hands would reinvent basketball as profoundly as Jimi Hendrix’s hands reinvented rock-and-roll.)

2) There shall be no running with the ball.
(Thus mitigating the privileges of owning portable property. Extended ownership of the ball is a virtue in football. Possession of the ball in basketball is never ownership; it is always temporary and contingent upon your doing something with it.)

3) No man on either team shall be restricted from getting the ball at any time that it is in play.
(Thus eliminating the job specialization that exists in football, by whose rules only those players in “skill positions” may touch the ball. The rest just help. In basketball there are skills peculiar to each position, but everyone must run, jump, catch, shoot, pass, and defend.)

4) Both teams are to occupy the same area, yet there is to be no personal contact.
(Thus no rigorous territoriality, nor any rewards for violently invading your opponents’ territory unless you score. The model for football is the drama of adjacent nations at war. The model for basketball is the polyglot choreography of urban sidewalks.)

5) The goal shall be horizontal and elevated.
(The most Jeffersonian principle of all: Labor must be matched by aspiration. To score, you must work your way down court, but you must also elevate! Ad astra.)"
davehickey  via:ablerism  1995  basketball  rules  games  nfl  nba  defense  jamesnaismith  play  constrains  aesthetics  americanfootball  football  territoriality  possession  ownership  specialization  generalists  beauty  juliuserving  jimihendrix  bodies  hands  1980  kareemabdul-jabbar  mauricecheeks  fluidity  adaptability  ymca  violence  coaching  barbarism  civility  sports  body 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Two Encinitas YMCA Board Members Forced Out Over Youth Membership Dispute | KPBS
"Ecke and Ayers challenged a 2013 decision to eliminate youth membership discounts. For about $80 to $100 a year, children 12 and under could get access to various YMCA programs, including swimming, gymnastics and martial arts.

But under the new rules, children in that age group can't join the YMCA without being part of a family membership, which costs about $1,000 annually. These youth membership discounts went away for the entire county last July except at the Ecke YMCA, which ends its program this month.

Ayers believes the change will drive away many of the 2,400 kids who have youth membership discounts at the Ecke YMCA.

“It will be a tremendous financial barrier for them,” he said. “Youth are a very fundamental part of the mission of the YMCA. It didn’t make sense that we would do anything that would affect youth at our YMCA.”"
ymca  sandiego  money  2015  inequality 
may 2015 by robertogreco
The Next Bond Money Fight: Swimming Pools - Voice of San Diego
"San Diego Unified is still in the midst of a court battle over millions of bond dollars spent improperly on stadium lights, but that’s not stopping officials from plunging into a similar endeavor: building swimming pools.

The district is forging ahead with a Pools for Schools initiative that’ll build 10 or more pools on or near school campuses. District officials have floated a $20 million price tag.

But the pools plan is remarkably similar to the district’s use of bond money to fund new stadium lights – an approach the Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected. The taxpayer group that successfully sued over the field lights has put the district on notice that it plans to sue again once a drop of bond money is spent on the pools.

That’s not the only factor that could complicate the initiative: The bonds the district wants to use are tax-exempt and must be used for a public purpose. It could be fine if they jump through the hoops of various tax laws, but renting out the pools too often and putting any of them on private property could call the funding into question.

The district’s in-house counsel, Andra Donovan, did not respond to several inquiries.

The district’s bond counsel, Mary Collins of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, declined to discuss the pools and referred me to district officials.

“The ‘plan,’ as you call it, is still being developed. No work has been done yet,” Cynthia Reed-Porter, a spokeswoman for the district, said in an email. “The district is working closely with bond counsel to ensure that the plans that are developed meet the requirements for expenditure of bond funds, and that the tax-exempt status is preserved.”

Lee Dulgeroff, chief facilities planning and construction officer for the district, said the pools are still a go.

“Our legal counsel is confident, and that’s our opinion,” Dulgeroff said. “Our goal is to make sure our kids are water-safe.”


The district announced the Pools for Schools initiative in May 2013, just two months after being told by an appellate court that it could not spend bond money on field lights because they were not sufficiently disclosed to voters who passed Proposition S, a $2.1 billion school bond measure, in 2008.

This time, the district would use funds from another school bond measure, the $2.8 billion Proposition Z, passed in 2012, to build pools throughout the district. The YMCA would maintain and operate the pools as part of a joint-use partnership. Win-win, says the district.

The pools would provide students, YMCA members and paying outside parties the space for competitive swimming, water polo, physical education classes and recreational use.

A presentation made to the school board showed several schools getting a pool on campus, including Mira Mesa, Madison and Patrick Henry high schools, and Roosevelt Middle, while several others would get to use pools built by the district at nearby YMCA sites.

Lincoln High students would use a pool at the Jackie Robinson YMCA, Point Loma High students would use a pool at a future YMCA site at Liberty Station and Scripps Ranch High students would use a pool at a future Scripps Ranch YMCA site.

The district inked a preliminary deal late last year with the YMCA of San Diego County to operate and maintain the pools once they’re built, and again listed YMCA sites among the pool locations, although district officials said exact locations have yet to be finalized.

Officials, though, are relying on near identical ballot language to rationalize the construction of swimming pools that a court said was insufficient to justify the field lights paid for with Proposition S funds.

Just like the field lights, the swimming pools are only explicitly mentioned on the ballot in a section near the bottom that shows “other costs incidental to and necessary for completion of the listed projects.”

For the district to justify the pools, it’ll have to sell the notion the pools are necessary to complete other projects listed on the ballot.

What Proposition Z does have that S didn’t is the district’s plan to pursue projects at all sites that “improve physical education, athletic facilities,” “expand or develop joint-use athletic facilities” and “Develop or improve education, recreation and/or community resource facilities for joint-use to support students and neighborhood families.”

Whether that broad language is enough to defend the pools may be left to another court to decide.

The same taxpayer group that successfully sued the district over the field lights – and is seeking a court order to get the district to repay its bond fund $2.6 million – plans to sue again if the district proceeds with using bond funds for pools.

“Someone needs to challenge this, because this is not what the voters voted on,” said Ron Anderson, president of Taxpayers for Accountable School Bond Spending.

“Why the push for these controversial projects? If there was such a need for them, why weren’t they front and center on the bond measure?” Anderson said. “Nobody is against kids learning how to swim. If there is an intent to build pools, then float a bond and put it squarely in there, stating that the money will be used to build aquatic centers.”

Anderson said he opposes any plans that use public money to improve private property.

“It is too early in the process to comment on the plan and its successful outcome,” said Loni Lewis, spokeswoman for the YMCA of San Diego County.


There’s also a separate issue that could pose legal obstacles.

Proposition Z bonds are tax-exempt so long as they are used for tax-exempt purposes.

To avoid being reclassified by the Internal Revenue Service, the district will need to make sure it’s using the bonds according to laws that limit the benefits afforded to non-governmental entities, including nonprofits like the YMCA.

“This would have to be done carefully,” said Darien Shanske, a professor who teaches public finance and federal, state and local tax courses at UC Davis School of Law. “There are very detailed regulations about how much non-governmental use is permitted for tax-exempt bonds. I would hope with good advice, they can make this possible.”

Perry Israel, a Sacramento-based municipal finance tax attorney, said the district would need to follow rules for qualified 501(c)(3) bonds if they want to build pools on YMCA property. Such bonds generally require that the “facility must be used 95 percent of the time for governmental use and nonprofit use,” Israel said.

For pools on school sites, Israel said the district has another option and may follow rules for governmental bonds that generally require at least 90 percent government use and meet other requirements in the YMCA management contract.

While the details of the pools deal will be hammered out as site funding becomes available, the memorandum signed with the YMCA in December says the district “desires to have sole and exclusive use during school hours while school is in session” and preferential use at other times.

It also says “The Parties will jointly develop a schedule of proposed uses, programs, hours of operations, and fees to users (such as swim lessons, private practice lane rentals, special competitions, etc.) that generates the maximum potential use of the pool and facilities, minimizes District funding and expenses, and sustains the operation of the facilities.”

How much the pools are rented out, however, is something the district will need to consider and likely restrict.

If the pools are frequently rented out to paying parties, that could interfere with what’s known as the public purpose doctrine, a principle built into state constitutions that generally restricts government resources from benefitting private parties.

Proposition S and Z are general obligation bonds backed by the taxes, and as such “have to satisfy a public purpose,” said Clayton Gillette, a professor of local government law at NYU School of Law.

Still, what constitutes a “public purpose” is an “extraordinarily flexible notion,” interpreted differently by the courts throughout history, he said.

“The more it (the pool) is open to all students the easier it is going to be to satisfy a public purpose requirement,” Gillette said. “The more that members of the YMCA have preferential access with fees, the more it would raise a public purpose question.”

Gillette also said the YMCA’s religious affiliation might raise questions about “an improper mixing of the state and religion,” but since the pools are “for a non-religious purpose, it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Former school board member Scott Barnett, who helped put together the Pools for Schools plan before leaving office last year, touted the partnership as a prudent cost-saver.

“I didn’t want the district to get into the business of operating, maintaining and staffing pools, because that’s not the primary task of the district,” Barnett said. Nor did he want the pool programs to be vulnerable to budget cuts.

He said he recalls some discussion about using a lease-leaseback method to build the pool at the Jackie Robinson YMCA, but he doesn’t recall looking at the field light decision before forging ahead with the Pools for School plan, and strongly objects to any comparisons.

“To in any way equate the language in Prop. Z with the language in Prop. S is absolutely reckless,” Barnett said. “The bond has thousands and thousands of bond expenditures that are not mentioned in the bond language at all. The specific plumbing and drainage of the fields,” for instance.

“Anyone can sue over anything that they aren’t happy with.”"
sandiego  sdusd  schools  pools  swimming  swimmingpools  bonds  funding  srg  edg  glvo  2015  ymca  schoolbonds  propositions  propositionz  education 
april 2015 by robertogreco

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