Can sports save the ‘hood?

nats3.jpg

 I’m not exactly sure where I want to go with this post, so bare with me.

Pictured above is an artist rendition of the Washington Nationalsnew stadium in Southeast DC. After a couple of years at RFK, the Nats are scheduled to start play in  their new stadium on opening day 2008. While the jury’s still out on what the team will look like, by all accounts, the stadium is a gem.

But rewind a couple of years ago when owners and city officials were trying to find a permanent home for the Nats. If I recall correctly, a different tune was being sung. Nobody, media included, was keen on building the stadium in “that neighborhood” After all, it was “in Southeast” It bothered me at the time because just a few years earlier the same discussion was held in reference to the MCI Verizon Center. However, one it was finished and that area turned out not to be as bad as presumed, it was the greatest idea in the world.

Today, as the Nats stadium is in its final stages of completion, it’s a totally different story. The area as been cleaned up and with talks of condos, shops, etc., the Anacostia waterfront it said to be experiencing a “Renaissance”

To me, I question has to be asked, why does it take sports to bring attention to, and revamp the ‘hood or low income areas. We’ve seen this in different citites and in all sports. The most recent one that comes to mind is the New Jersey Devils and their new stadium in downtown Newark.  Prior to, it was a disaster, a few months later, ease has set in.

People form opinions based on what they read/see in the media. So, if Joe Sportswriter blasts a team for an arena location, Sally Suburbs is going to believe it, thus forming an opinion about said area. I guess my beef is why it takes sports to bring attention and money to bad neighborhoods. But, on the flipside, maybe we should thank sports, because if it wasn’t for them, these areas may go ignored forever.

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