Louisville Magazine

AUG 2014

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

Issue link: https://loumag.epubxp.com/i/352322

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Page 13 of 148

LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 8.14 11 "Backyard concerts" Goooooal! Beshear on gay marriage Brownsboro and Hillcrest Um, like… And More! Those Amazing Race goths Old antique mall on Goss thebit 21Qs 21 questions RELEASES PRESS THIS MONTH IN and other junk JUST SAYIN' Abit DEEPER ROADS cross At a picnic table near the Shawnee Park basketball courts, Neal Robertson chomps on a bright green apple and, between bites, waves or yells hello to people walking/biking/driving by. As a West End native, these are his stomping grounds. Though Robertson grew up here, the 51-year-old took a 22-year hiatus from the city to live in Washington, D.C., where he became a community activist. He moved back to Louisville several years ago and noticed the same poverty he battled in D.C. "It was an eye-opener," says Robert- son, who now has a job with Public Works. "I came back and saw people I grew up with, and they were on drugs or losing their minds. If not, they just weren't doing anything." Enter the Dirt Bowl. Robertson gets nostalgic reminiscing about how he grew up coming to the Dirt Bowl, a 10-week-long basketball competition in Shawnee Park that dates to 1969 and has hosted some of the city's best players. (Sideline spectators still share soaring stories about U of L great Darrell Griffth.) But when Robertson returned to his hometown, he found that crime and violence had completely blotted out the tradition. "Why aren't we doing anything?" he asked neighbors. "Why aren't you doing anything?" they responded. Using his local-government and neighborhood connections, Robertson got the Dirt Bowl back up and running two years ago. "My grandma always said, 'You're either helping or you're hurt- ing,'" he says. "Well, I'm just trying to help." The Dirt Bowl now has more of a community-picnic spin: GED sign-ups, health screenings, Army recruiters and, of course, food. "It's not all about the basketball game," Robertson says. Except on Aug. 17, aka "Super Sunday." That's when the championship happens. — Tyler Curth Neal Robertson Helper BLOODLINE BUILDING WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO ? A bit DIRTY For more on the Dirt Bowl, turn to page 112. Photo by Chris Witzke THE PORTRAIT

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