Sports Authority

Casino Royal

I’ve reported on the Kings since 1984 when they played in Kansas City. I wrote a book about them a decade ago. It’s taken awhile, but I’ve finally figured out what they need.
The Kings need a casino next to Golden 1 Center. Macy’s might be perfect.
Everybody needs a casino these days. Wheatland has one. Ione has one. Lincoln has one. Even Elk Grove has one. Seven tribal gambling halls exist within an hour’s drive of the Capitol. They provide punters with 14,575 slot machines, 481 table games, and 54 bars and restaurants.
Who says that’s enough?

Strung Out

I love Capitol Bowl. On dark nights, those white neon lights beckon with a nostalgic plea across West Capitol Avenue.

Inside, modern technologies honor and blur connections to 1960s bowling alleys, memories of beery scents, billowing ashtrays and Sure Strike scoring crayons.

Capitol Bowl calls itself a “modern bowling center.” This means glow bowling in disco darkness and automatic digital scorekeepers that erase the need for human calculations. The grill serves bacon cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches and a thoughtful salad thick with tomatoes.

Hazel’s Story

There must be something we can do for Hazel Jackson. Her bravery brought a reckoning that inspires today.

She forced Land Park gentry to confront their indifference to racism. She shamed local business leaders for their ownership of a sports facility that refused to serve Black people.

Hazel Jackson made a difference. Thanks to her, part of the city’s recreational and sporting life untethered itself from an anchor of institutional bigotry.

Deal Killer

Kevin Johnson was elected mayor twice without talking about basketball. An NBA All-Star for the Phoenix Suns, Johnson downplayed his sports legacy on the campaign trail.

He wanted to be known as a business and education leader from Oak Park. He saw himself as a local success story and visionary, not an old jock.

This year’s mayoral election brings another Kevin with basketball history. The candidate is Kevin McCarty, state assemblymember and former city councilmember.

Community Shame

Generations of families loved Land Park Plunge and Riverside Baths. They celebrated the pool’s opening every April, rode bikes, walked or took the No. 2 bus down Riverside Boulevard.

They splashed in “artesian” waters on summer days. They swam on moonlit nights. Admission was 25 cents, kids a dime.

Then Land Park Plunge and its diving boards, patios and dressing rooms disappeared, dropped from conversations, expunged from memories, an embarrassment best forgotten.

Today nothing memorializes the significance of a once-grand community sports and recreation center. Let’s pretend this never happened. But it did happen.

They’re Off

Time to bet $50 on a harness horse named Roscoe P Coletrain. He’s no sure thing. Just a beautiful name.

I rarely bet horses on name alone, and almost never risk $50. I’m a $20 bettor, long shots. Anything over $20 depresses me when luck fails. Roscoe P Coletrain inspires dumb certainty.

The drive to Cal Expo is a reminder of how tough it is to make an old-fashioned, in-person wager on a harness horse. Trouble starts with finding the racetrack. I’ve watched races at Cal Expo for almost 50 years, navigated the parking lot hundreds of times.

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