By John Drake
Buffalo parks aren’t appreciated enough
Traveling across the U.S. and Canada, I am often faced with the task of looking for public tennis courts to practice my obsessive passion of tennis. This tedious task often leads me to beat-up tennis courts, making it very difficult to play. The often “good public tennis courts” are always limited and overcrowded with people where the wait time can be hours long.
Going back home and playing tennis at Delaware Park, I now realize how much I take for granted the beautiful courts at Delaware Park. From Michigan to all of southern Ontario, it is almost impossible to find playable tennis courts.
The common features of a typical public tennis court, through my observations, consist of foot-long weeds that grow in the cracks of the court, a plethora of small stones that make the court slippery, and holes the size of grapefruits in the net.
Not only are the courts at Delaware Park beautifully maintained, but they are also never busy. I have never once been to Delaware Park and have had to wait, unlike the majority of other nice public tennis facilities. For example, places such as Ala Moana Park on the island of Oahu in Hawaii will cost you, on average, two to three hours of wait time for a tennis court.
Not only are the avid tennis players like me benefitting from the Delaware Park tennis courts, but so are the beginners and younger players. They have an amazing opportunity to try out the sport for free. Families can just show up to the park and enjoy the game of tennis without worrying about finding a court or traveling far.
This localized system of tennis courts in Buffalo has created a tight-knit tennis community. The connections I and others have made at the courts are endless. The local programs and organized events, such as the MUNY tennis tournament and the Buffalo high school tennis program, draw players from all levels and backgrounds together in the area to enjoy the great sport of tennis.
Similar to the tennis courts, the other features of Delaware Park are not just sizable but breathtaking as well. The long walks along the lake, the beautifully manicured golf fairways, newly surfaced tennis courts and the endless fields of grass make Delaware Park unmatched.
The experience Delaware Park provides is not the only example of unbelievable recreational opportunities in Buffalo. The basketball courts at Masten Park have become a staple for local basketball players to show up and pick up a game.
I have shown up to the park and have met with many different players of different levels, all willing to play with me. The basketball courts are endless and so are the players. It is as simple as showing up to the courts to find a game and meet people with similar interests.
These parks have become hubs of socialization in Buffalo. A simple walk in any of the parks will lead to a new friend and a story. I believe small things like the park system are what has established Buffalo as a true community.
I believe the residents of Buffalo do not quite realize how great our park system is and the value it holds for our community. I highly encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunities present at our local parks, especially before the snow starts.
Thank you to Mayor Byron Brown and his staff for continuing their great efforts of maintaining the parks, a true staple of the Buffalo community.