I have lived all of my 56 years on a street that borders a lovely park. On average I would imagine I have visited the park at least once a day. It plays a major role in my life. Smack in the centre of the park is a game area. After a couple of decades of disrepair it seems some signs of life have emerged.
As a boy a sure sign of the arrival of summer was the appearance of a green shack in the game area. This small wooden hut housed the equipment used in the various games. Horseshoes for tossing on the four sand-filled pits, shuffleboard discs and cue-sticks, large checkers made of wood, both red and black and the hooks used to move them on the big boards that were inlaid in the concrete.
There was a time when the pleasant summer evenings provided a perfect background for older men to engage in a ‘serious’ game of checkers. I never realized that there are competitive checker players, but now understand that several ‘ranked’ players played in the park. I met a man recently who used to play checkers in the park, but now laments the lack of players, claiming the Internet has killed the game.
The game area also provided a summer job for a local student. This person was responsible for maintaining the game equipment, cutting the peripheral grass and generally keeping the area clean. But their first job of the summer was to repaint the shuffleboard courts. Tape and a steady hand were required to redo the lines and numbers that had been lost to the snow over the long winter.
I was pleased to notice as I was passing through the park yesterday that a new ‘checker table’ and chairs have been installed, as was as a heavy-duty ping-pong table (table tennis if you must). It is not quite what it once was, but then what is. Any new players will have to provide their own checkers, and the ping-pong table is on what used to be the shuffleboard courts, but it is still nice to see some life in the old game area.