At 9:00am every day of the year, weather permitting, "Rudy's Group" of mostly retirees gathers to play tennis at the Golden Gate Park Tennis Complex, the biggest (most courts) public tennis facility in these parts.
We get some advance notice when a tournament is scheduled to take over the courts. Rudy's Group usually reschedules for 7:30 am and is able to finish before the tournament matches get under way.
This past week we couldn't even do the early session. We were told that a youth tournament would have matches starting at 8:00am all week.
Normally, early start times happen only at the beginning of tournaments, while the draw is being whittled down, so this was unusual.
My friend and I decided to chance it for our regular Wednesday 7:30am drill session, figuring there would have to be one court unoccupied for the hour or so it takes us to tire out.
When I arrived there was an SFPD squad car parked prominently where a corner of the complex abuts Bowling Green Drive. Usually any cops around would be at the Hippy Hill corner, interacting with the morning congress of hobos.
There were already lights on and a few adults fussing around in the clubhouse. The courts were vacant except for one on which some Chinese-elder regulars were talking with a tall young cop.
I walked out onto a court distant from the clubhouse and got ready to hit some practice serves until my partner arrived.
Then I see the cop walking all the way out toward me.
We talk affably and he explains that I'll have to leave as soon as the kids start arriving.
"No problem," I told him, "we'll just play until someone needs the court then we'll depart immediately."
This was satisfactory to him.
I queried the cop about the tournament, who? what? Very pleasant and polite, he seemed reticent to talk about it.
When my friend arrived we moved to an even more remote court, the last one that's ever assigned for a tournament match.
As the kids started arriving we were visited by a man with a jacket that said, "Security." He and I had the same conversation, only when I asked about the tournament, he answered: "It's part of the Jewish Community Center sponsored "Macabbi Games and Art Fest."
So that explained why seemingly none of the participating kids were black, or brown, or yellow-- fifteen hundred Jewish kids in town participating in multiple sports and arts events.
Still, dense, I wondered, why all the security? Were there very young kids who might wander off or be abducted? Are Jewish kids held more precious?
The Games' website helped. The heavy security wasn't because the kids were Jewish, but rather because the games are Zionist.
The purpose of the Maccabiah is to:
enrich the lives of more than 400,000 members in more than 60 countries with Jewish and Zionist values.
Their website mentions the "Munich 11."
So the tournament promotes the ongoing theft of Palestine and the oppression of the Palestinian people.
JCC Maccabi... continues to introduce teens to the magic of the state of Israel.
Many residents of the nearby neighborhoods regularly stroll or walk their dogs along the paths through the tennis complex and sometimes stop at the clubhouse to pee, or get water for their dogs or something.
This last week they were all scrutinized, just like me, as potential suicide bombers.
In hindsight I'm thinking that the nice young SFPD guy wasn't the only person at the courts that morning carrying a gun.
----- o -----