In the city’s west end, a fresh wave of community spirit is being played out on the new Tri court at Century Gardens, the location of a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Not just about promoting the game, the initiative aims to foster community ties and vitalize a part of downtown historically marred by problems.
Terry Wong, Ward 7 councillor, emphasized the significance of such initiatives amidst efforts to invigorate downtown with more opportunities for housing and public spaces. “If we can’t make a great downtown, what do we have for Calgary?” questioned Wong.
With the basketball games underway throughout the day, the first 20 participants who signed up were graced with free basketballs. Scores of people attended the event on late Sunday morning, spilling into the afternoon even as the mayor delivered a brief speech.
Describing his own motivations, Samuel Lagao exclaimed how he came down to the courts to engage with other athletes. “I came down here just because fun, and to have some competition,” he stated, further adding his desire to win and catch up with his comrades.
For Teni Somefun from Stryker Sports Development, it’s an opportunity to proliferate the sport, making it accessible and competitive for all age groups in the inner city. “We’re kind of building that basketball culture in Calgary and we’re just getting there further and further,” Somefun opined. He also observed how activating neglected spaces with activities like basketball causes the place to pulsate with a rejuvenated culture.
The event celebrated the opening of new courts at Century Gardens, spurring a buzz amongst basketball players. Somefun noted the addition of the Calgary Surge basketball team is drawing fresh talent to the sport. “A lot of hope, especially, the next few years, see where Calgary basketball goes. I’m really excited. So I’m just happy to be a part of it,” Somefun added with palpable enthusiasm.
Conveniently located at 826 8 Street S.W., Century Gardens Park is open to the public.