Archive for February, 2018

Boerne Needs More Gym Space

As young kids, my sister and I received handbook-sized daily diaries from our mother. The books had straps and small locks on them to keep one’s sibling from prying. Never mind that the locks and keys were identical on both.

I didn’t write much in mine. Years later I flipped through it and noticed only a handful of entries.

One entry, however, recalled a time when some high schoolers invited me to play in their pickup basketball game at the local YMCA. They must have needed a player. I was a frail seventh grader framed only by a love of the game.

According to Diary, I drained a three-point shot to win the game. Over the years that followed I played hundreds of spontaneous games at that YMCA.

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of pickup basketball in Boerne.

Basketball is a remarkable sport. It requires minimal equipment once goals are in place. It’s good exercise. It’s a team game that’s both physical and fluid.

And we have one of the world’s finest prototypes in our own backyard to mimic. Blue bloods will cringe at this, but there’s not much difference between the San Antonio Spurs and the San Antonio Symphony.

Here’s the problem: Boerne doesn’t have enough gym space. Court infrastructure has fallen behind population growth. Even when using school and church gyms, the Boerne YMCA still sends some youth teams to play in Helotes.

The matter was exacerbated last year when the Boerne YMCA moved locations. Its previous location at least had some hardwood flooring and four basketball goals.

The YMCA is still a $5 million donation away from constructing a gymnasium at its new location on Adler Road.

The City of Boerne Parks & Recreation Master Plan was released last year. It quotes data provided by Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI).

According to ESRI, more city residents participated in basketball in 2016 than any other field sport, 39 per cent more than the second most popular sport, football. Presumably, these residents are shooting a lot of hoops on their driveways given the dearth of gym space mentioned above.

The parks and rec master plan also states that for a city Boerne’s size, the National Recreation and Parks Association recommends three full-size basketball courts.

The city claims it offers two courts, but one of those is a set of stand alone goals in the City Park parking lot which is often filled with cars.

The only full-length basketball court provided by the city is in Northrup Park. It is a covered pavilion with only two goals. It was built in 2000 but feels much older.

The parks master plan includes a concept to construct a full-court basketball pavilion at the Northside Community Park. The court is part of an unfunded $8 – $10 million build out of softball fields, soccer fields, a dog park and a volleyball court.

I propose this near-term solution: A “bubble” tent similar to what college and professional sports teams use to cover their practice fields. There’s adequate land space either at the YMCA or the Northside Park property. Other expenses such as flooring and hoops don’t seem exorbitant.

Pickup basketball is an exercise-invoking, community-building activity for kids and adults. We need to figure out how to hoop it up more.

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star. He can be reached at


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