The mind, body and spirit of Dayton

David Esrati hangs rims at Princeton Rec

Thanks to Mike, I had a hand hanging the third FirstTeam FT172D rim at Princeton Rec

Yesterday, we hung the third donated First Team FT172D rim at Princeton Recreation center. (If you’d like to donate rims, click the link and follow the instructions.) Now all 6 backboards have workable rims, although 2 are built for chains, and one- the one next to “the rock” is suffering from rotted backboarditis. I’ve been talking to a local businessman about donating some wooden backboards as temporary fixes. Full court ball is now in session at the Rec center- but, we’re still missing out on creating organized ball in the city. You can read more about my green nets at

The guy who donated that rim, and the box of nets I’m hanging now, sent me a link this morning to a story about a physical-education-centered charter school that opened in NYC last year. I doubt there are meaningful statistics on if it’s working yet- but, my guess is, a school like this in Dayton would go a long way toward helping boost graduation rates and provide yet another “point of pride” for living in Dayton. Watch the 7 minute ESPN video about the “Urban Dove” High School:

(sorry for the external link- ESPN doesn’t make it easy to embed video)

I used to hate gym when I was in school- mostly because so much of it was unfocused physical activity, with the exception of a running class and a swimming class in high school- the dodge ball, kickball and lame calisthenics didn’t give me any lasting skills or knowledge. With our degraded parks, our decimated parks and rec programming, and no physical education being tested on the “no child left untested” or “common core” curriculum, we’re playing into raising another generation of out-of-shape diabetics.

Physical conditioning is a key component of being able to cope, focus, and reach our potential as citizens. My hoops Dayton net initiative is only a first step toward taking our basketball crazy city and turning us into a healthy community. I know that when I’m overweight and not in peak shape (as I am right now) everything is more difficult. I imagine this is the same for everyone in our community- which is why our parks and recreation utilization is one key part to putting the pride back in Dayton.

Adding a bike share program to our city (and not just where the yuppies and hipsters live per the Dr. Ervin plan) but citywide is another way to engage our citizens in healthy alternatives to being sedentary.

As part of my plan to re-engage our citizens, via strengthening our neighborhood organizations, we’d also reward neighborhoods that start fitness groups- walking, running, bicycling, basketball, softball, soccer- and engage in organized fitness. Much for the very same reasons Urban Dove high school puts every kid on a team. We have a ladies’ book club- and a ladies who eat club, and a Shakespeare  group in South Park- but we’ve not graduated to sports/fitness yet.

We may have empty lots with jungles growing on them, or houses ready to be town down- but the question is- should our city focus on the health of its citizens before the health of its people. I believe that healthy citizens will be able to find better answers to our other problems. If we focus on building on the strength of our citizens- instead of the liabilities of our physical infrastructure – we, like the coaches of Urban Dove, may have a lasting impact on restoring the mind, body and spirit of our city.

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