Members of the BF Crazies section cheer after a dunk during a summer 2013 George Goodman Basketball League game at Barry Farms Dwellings basketball courts in Southeast Washington, DC. A few seating sections have been given nicknames such as Season Ticket Holders, 9-5 Crew, and The Lane Mob. (Jared Soares)
In a small corner of Washington’s Southeast quadrant sits a community nexus where blends the likes of professional basketball players and Washington politicians with local residents, fried fish and hip-hop on summer evenings: the George Goodman League, formerly known as Barry Farms. In this space it’s not uncommon to see NBA star and D.C. native Kevin Durant sitting among spectators, or Education Secretary Arne Duncan suited up in a bright orange jersey.
In the summer of 2013, photographer Jared Soares discovered the famous courts and spent most of his nights taking the bus to Anacostia, an area that grapples with a reputation of poverty, but a place on the verge of gentrification and all the changes that brings. As an avid basketball fan, Soares initially just set out to enjoy and document a weekly tournament, but instead he found a narrative that showed a tight-knit community constituted by a mix of races, ages, economic status and backgrounds, all bound by a love for the game of hoops.
Streetball tournaments played in the long-standing George Goodman League have, for 39 years, been a way for the youth of the neighborhood to channel their energy into sports and away from tough situations outside the gates. Admission is free, and each night there is potential to watch professional, college and high school players hone their skills. “The more time I spent, the more I realized that there was an opportunity to use photographs about the league to suggest ideas about more universal issues with the emphasis being on community. The fans and the personalities that surround the action on the court blend together to form a portrait of a set of people for the three hottest months of the year,” says Saores.
Barry Farms will be on exhibit at Vivid Solutions gallery in Washington from September 12 thru October 2014 and Jared will also give a talk on October 18th. Details at the bottom of this post.
All photos by Jared Soares
Goodman League operations employees clean the court after a rain shower. The court was refurbished not too long ago with a $50,000 donation from Nike. (Jared Soares) Players have to change in and out the uniforms once they arrive at the court and when the games end. (Jared Soares) Goodman League Operations manager , Kenneth Newton, center, chats with teens before the start of a summer 2013 George Goodman Basketball League game at Barry Farms Dwellings. Some of Newton’s duties include managing equipment, setting up the scoreboard and concessions. (Jared Soares) Gloria Benbow, center, shares a laugh with friends before the tip off of a summer 2013 George Goodman Basketball League. (Jared Soares) Goodman League fans take in on court action. (Jared Soares) Oklahoma City Thunder and Washington DC native, Kevin Durant makes his way to the bench to pick up his uniform for a summer 2013 George Goodman Basketball League game. Durant, who has been an NBA All Star and scoring champion has played in the Goodman League since he was a teenager. He often makes appearances throughout the summer. (Jared Soares) United State Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, left, provides instruction to his team the Old Heads during a summer 2013 George Goodman Basketball League game. This was Duncan’s first season playing in the Goodman League. He played at Harvard and professionally in Australia’s National Basketball League. (Jared Soares) Goodman League player Gerard Jones displays a basketball and Washington, DC themed tattoo before a game during the summer 2013 season. (Jared Soares) Spectator Lil’ Tony sits on the sidelines ahead of a Goodman League match up. (Jared Soares) The White Chocolate All Stars and Uptown Elite shake hands after a summer 2013 George Goodman Basketball League game. (Jared Soares) Spectators prepare to enter the gates for a summer 2013 George Goodman Basketball League game in Southeast Washington, DC. (Jared Soares) Goodman League fans during an evening game at Barry Farms Dwellings basketball courts in Southeast Washington, DC. (Jared Soares) Goodman League scoring champion J-Dub with his trophy after a playoff game Sunday August 24, 2014. (Jared Soares) An empty court after the Drew All Stars celebrated their Goodman League championship win over the Roc Boys to conclude the summer 2013 season at Barry Farms. (Jared Soares)
Vivid Solutions Gallery inside The Anacostia Arts Center
1231 Good Hope Road SE
Washington, DC 20020
The Farms | Jared Soares
Exhibition Dates: September 12 – October 31
Opening Reception: September 12 from 69pm
Artist Talk: October 18, 1:00pm