THE GUARDSMEN ON PRIVATE-PUBLIC DUTY FOR AT-RISK YOUTH IN SAN FRANCISCO HORSESHOE COURTS – ON SCENE WITH BILL WILSON

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BY BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson © 2009

Private-public partnerships, community ownership, service are words that get tossed around a lot at the Recreation and Parks Department meetings.

There can be no finer example of what those words mean than the refurbishing of the Horseshoe Courts in Golden Gate Park near McLaren Lodge.

The incredible transformation of the area that used to be home to the homeless and was just an overgrown mess is due to many hours of volunteer work provided by a group called The Guardsmen.

They are young men from the Bay area dedicated to doing charity work that according to their website The Guardsmen is mainly for providing opportunity for at risk youth.

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No longer the pits, the Horseshoe Courts have been refurbished by The Guardsmen.
Bill Wilson © 2009

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The horse sculpture still needs restoration, but the courts are ready for play.
Bill Wilson © 2009

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RPD Commissioners David Lee, Mike Sullivan, Meagan Levitan, and Tom Harrison
attended the rededication of the Horseshoe Courts. (No business was discussed.)

Bill Wilson © 2009

According too my sources there were actually three recognized champions in attendance; I didn’t get his name, but was told that this young man was state champion for his age level two years ago.

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Horseshoe pitching is a game for all ages to enjoy.
Bill Wilson © 2009

World Champion Brian Simmons and State Champion Rick Bermingham were also in attendance because the Guardsmen were sponsoring a tournament to begin soon after the rededication ceremony.

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Brian Simmons gets his pitch as CA state champion Rick Bermingham looks on.
Bill Wilson © 2009

So what do you do it inaugurate a new horseshoe court?

My idea was that they should string a ribbon across the pole that the pitchers are aiming for and then have the ribbon broken by the first one to get a ringer.

However being that we live in the United States where the President gets to toss out the first pitch on baseball’s opening day, it was decided that the Mayor should throw the first pitch.

So after instructions from Brian Simmons, he gave it a good pitch. Now I would like to tell you he got a ringer, but I have to be truthful.

You can tell from the picture I wasn’t close enough to see. I was keeping my distance. I didn’t want to provide any target.

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Mayor Newsom pitches the first horseshoe on the newly refurbished Horseshoe Courts
in Golden Gate Park as world champion horseshoe pitcher Brian Simmons looks on.

Bill Wilson © 2009

See Related: ON SCENE WITH BILL WILSON

BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson is a veteran freelance photographer whose work is published by San Francisco and Bay Area media. Bill embraced photography at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR). Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past five years. Email Bill Wilson at wfwilson@sbcglobal.net.

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