Rhythm & Views

Pine Peace Basketball Court Under Water Again

GHS seventh grader Damien AJ Hodge, above, holds an electrical cord which is stretched across the flooded Pine Peace basketball court.

For many years, St. John has been facing a problem with its lack of facilities.

Recreational, educational, and social activities are all limited to the few out dated facilities on the island. For years residents have made due, but what happens when the few facilities that are here are taken away?

Many people agree that one of the island’s most popular sports is basketball. With that in mind, why is it that every so often the island has to go months without a basketball court, because the only one that exists is flooded?  

For the past few years, the people of St. John have only been able to make use of their basketball court for a little more than half of the year. This happens as a result of the court’s persistent flooding problem.  

Hurricane Omar passed about a month ago, and still the island is  struggling to regain a dry basketball court at Pine Peace. Even when the court dries, players have to deal with the cracks in the court caused by the flooding, the mold and the mosquitoes. The court is going to need a paint job, the grass is going to need to be cut, and the two children play areas are going to need to be cleaned. I think this is a sign that we need to refurbish the court entirely, and now is the time.

Where’s the Government?
How many times does the basketball court need to be flooded for the government to open up their eyes? The people of St. John deserve better. What do the residents need to do to be heard? 

I am sure we are all tired of hearing the word “appropriation.” This is the word the government has been using forever. Residents want the government to get the money and get the court fixed. Residents do not want the court to continue to be an Atlantis on St. John.

No Home Games for GHS
Due to the conditions of the court, the basketball teams at Gifft Hill School will not be able to have any home games this year. Instead, they will have to travel to St. Thomas for all of their games.  

“Conscious decisions of injustice towards our youth of St. John continue to hold back our youth from their fullest potential,” said GHS athletic director Kent Wessinger. “It is sad to see that our students can’t even have a home game due to such an issue.”  

I am sure many feel the same, as it is sad that the youth of this island are so deprived.   

Not only will the high schoolers at GHS be affected, but the elementary students at the Julius E. Sprauve School as well.

The JESS elementary basketball team has been one of the most competitive teams in the IAA School League, despite the school’s team not having a court  on which to practice. What does that mean for the elementary school students?  

It is frustrating to everyone to have what little is here being taken away. The Pine Peace basketball court is one of the few facilities here on St. John. Something needs to be done about the condition of the court and it’s needed now.