Saturday, April 07, 2012

Where My Community Used to Be

YOUR Brockton Rox!
I knew I had arrived as a New England transplant when I started giving directions that included "turn where the ______ used to be." I will never be a real Bay Stater, by the way, because somewhere between going AWOL in 1734 and my arrival in 1997, ten generations of Bohanans lived in the Lower 49. We have a few generations of penance before some would really consider us locals, but nonetheless we take every opportunity to embrace our local community.

I was reminded of this because of the brilliant closing paragraph of the latest effort of the Brockton Enterprise editorial board to promote local-mindedness and the cultivation of a sense of place:

But if we want communities with character, if we want shops and restaurants that make the region unique, and if we want to show off when we have visitors rather than explain how things used to be, we’ve got to be active participants, not just passers-by. 
The editorial -- entitled -- South Shore Character is Worth Your Investment -- ran in the same issue in which a cover story describes the latest effort to salvage the Brockton Rox baseball team.

That article is focused on cost-saving and capital-raising details of the team's recent realignment with a strictly amateur league. The underlying story is one of fan apathy, parallel to the retail apathy lamented in the editorial. For each night paying a fortune to be part of an anonymous mob at Fenway, a Brockton-area family can enjoy ten nights of baseball with heart at Campanelli Stadium. It is a chance not only to see a game without binoculars, but also to see and get to know one's neighbors. Without it, we may soon directing people to turn at the giant hole in the ground on the city's west side. We will wonder, a la Chrissie Hynde, "Eh, oh, where'd you go?"

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