Jose Velasquez prefers football, but likes to play basketball when he's not with his sons.

Before the pandemic, Jose Velasquez would regularly walk with his two teenage sons to Jose Coronado Playground on 21st Street. The small park is rarely busy, he says, so the three of them would toss around a football on the soccer field. 

Nowadays, his sons are staying with their mother. So instead, Velasquez brought a basketball. 

“Being at home all the time, it’s not healthy. So I came out to move around a little,” Velasquez said in Spanish, explaining that he was spending more time than usual inside. 

Photo by Juan Carlos Lara.

The bar where Velasquez works closed in March, then reopened for a while. He got a few shifts, but after outdoor dining was banned in early December, the bar closed entirely again. 

Today, his goal was to play some basketball. Although the courts have been closed, earlier he had spotted a broken section of the fence where anyone willing to get on the ground could wiggle into the playground. 

Already, it appeared that two tennis players had entered the same way. 

“I thought the doors would be open, and I’d sometimes pass by and see people inside, but I only noticed the hole today and decided to come in for a bit,” said Velasquez, who lives on Capp Street.

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Juan Carlos Lara covers business and development in the Mission. Juan Carlos, a San Francisco State alum, is as much a photographer as he is a writer and previously worked as the campus news editor at Golden Gate Xpress, SF State’s student paper.

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