Ball is Life: The Way Out

Youth play in Chicago's Stateway Gardens high-rising projects in 1973

Youth play in Chicago’s Stateway Gardens high-rising projects in 1973

It is not ironic to hear about the numerous of young African American athletes who become professionals. It is even more common to hear about the poverty they come from, as well as the adversity they have overcome. Impoverished young black kids see only way out and it’s through their athletic talents.

In describing the above photo, one can see that there are three tall project buildings in what may not be the background of the photo. The streets are very empty, no traffic and not a lot of people walking along the sidewalk. Notice that the sky is clear blue, there is not much green grass, at all and the leaves on the trees have fallen off. There are also five young black kids playing basketball during the day. They are playing on a rim that has no net, the pole seems to be an orange/brown color and the white backboard has some dirt or rust on the bottom, too.

The area where the guys are playing basketball is gated by a short sliver fence and far off behind them is a lonely, single slide for younger kids to play on (I assume). Significantly, details about the people in the image will mean more than what they just look like. The basketball they are playing with is not a Wilson or Baiden brand of basketball (newer version). It is clearly obvious that all the guys have long hair, which is an old trendy hairstyle primarily known as an Afro.

The three tall project buildings lead me to believe that they live in poverty. The living conditions in those buildings are absolutely terrible, unsanitary and unhealthy. The fact that the streets are empty show that not many people enjoy being outside around this area and there is not much the neighborhood or this specific street has to offer. Clear skies with only a few clouds, trees with no leaves on them and the lack of green grass are signs of the season change. With that said, I assume that in the photo it is approaching or is currently winter. Personally, I see a winter in Chicago. The setting in this photo seems to be familiar to me and what I have seen first-hand, being from Chicago. There are project buildings and settings just like this one here in the image. Where the guys are playing basketball is supposed to be a park, but it really isn’t because it does not offer much fun. An old basketball rim and lonely slide is not the most fun any group of kids can have. By the appearance of the guys with their Afros and old basketball, the picture has to date back in the 80’s at least.

This image describes exactly why so many young blacks dream of being a professional athlete. They are surrounded by zero opportunity and rare fun when in poverty. However, when exposed to only one game, that game becomes everything to them. As they grow older, those kids learn that it is an opportunity (which they usually don’t have) to pursue a better living they can only dream of in places like the one they were born into.

Google Images. “Youth play in Chicago’s Stateway Gardens high-rise housing project in 1973.” <www.en.wikipedia.org>. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.

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2 comments

  1. Overall, your response was well written. In the opening sentence, you mention “young African American athletes who become professionals” but you don’t mention the sport they are participating in. I would add “professional basketball players” in your thesis so they reader understands what you are trying to get across even though it is clear from the image.

    You describe the photo in full detail, which allows the reader to feel as if they were almost there in the city.

    You also provide in depth explanations to the parts of the image you described. You covered many topics such as the project buildings, the empty neighborhood, and little green space.

    Your assumptions seem to make sense with what one can conclude from analyzing the photo. The men in this image seem as if they come from a poor neighborhood. From your writing, I can understand why men who live in these conditions use basketball as a way out.

  2. Overall, your response was well written. In the opening sentence, you mention “young African American athletes who become professionals” but you don’t mention the sport they are participating in. I would add “professional basketball players” in your thesis so they reader understands what you are trying to get across even though it is clear from the image.

    You describe the photo in full detail, which allows the reader to feel as if they were almost there in the city.

    You also provide in depth explanations to the parts of the image you described. You covered many topics such as the project buildings, the empty neighborhood, and little green space.

    Your assumptions seem to make sense with what one can conclude from analyzing the photo. The men in this image seem as if they come from a poor neighborhood. From your writing, I can understand why men who live in these conditions use basketball as a way out.

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