As a kid on summer vacation in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, it amazed me how many futsal courts dotted the city. A slab of concrete bookended by a couple of goals created instant fun for hours. Just as impressive as the simplicity of these courts were the players. Neighborhood kids, half of which played barefoot! I could barely play in shoes and here they were cutting and swerving in all their calloused glory.
Years later when an opportunity came about to construct a couple courts at the middle school where I worked at, I thought long and hard about those courts in Santa Cruz: functional, durable, and accessible. I considered plastic module tiles also known as snap courts, however, they are susceptible to vandalism as they come apart much in the way a jigsaw puzzle does. The grant we obtained for the courts stated a recycled material needed to be included. This led us in the direction of a professional grade tennis court sans the sand. The sand component of any tennis court is what makes the court gritty. Underneath the blue surface of the Junction Ave K-8 School courts is a thin layer of recycled tires. This cushion is not noticeable unless you stick your thumb nail into it. Joints and tendons rejoice!
So the first outdoor court in the U.S. on a school campus is of the same quality as Andre Agassi’s home court and the various ones found at Google’s headquarters. No one could ever accuse us of not providing the kids with a first rate facility! Before the surface was laid, a local fence company, Calco Fence Inc., dug holes in the asphalt and cemented down various poles upon which the fence fabric was stretched across. Behind the goals the fence rises to 12 feet and along the sidelines 4 feet. Kwik goals were chained to the posts and entrance gates placed at each corner. So a chain link fence, a tennis court surface, and futsal sized goals have now led to years of laughs, fitness, and community pride. Not a bad investment from our city and county leaders. Great job Alameda County and the City of Livermore!