Bear Creek: a Park, or a Gateway to Something Else By Juan Alvarez

3535 War Memorial Drive
Houston, Texas 77084

Fall 2010-The shadow of a movement forced me to see a deer standing by a shady green bush looking at the street as the roaring of the cars forced it to stand there and just stare at the traffic. When I finally saw some open fields, the first thing that caught my attention was the green grass cut down to the perfect level as did the soccer players yelling “I’m open! I’m open!” That’s when I knew I was at Bear Creek Pioneer Park.

This park had given me some of the most awesome memories of my childhood. When I was a young boy, I use to play soccer in this park. I remember that the first time my dad brought me here I was so excited I couldn’t wait to get out of the car. My hands were shaking and my body pumped with energy that I wanted to release in the pitch. The car was still moving, but I was already out the door. My dad told me to stay calmed and I turned to him and I smiled.

I played in the U14 league which meant 14 years old and younger. My team was called The Houstonians. When I played there I won six tournaments and played 13. There was a lot of second and third places but no matter what we are always one of the best. Our team was one of the best in the league and we always shined, but as time passed the players kept growing up as well. This meant it was time to move on with life.

I turn into the street that that cut across half the park, War Memorial Dr. The weekend is the time for soccer games which meant the parking lot usually is packed and today is no exception. I’m driving down the street and I see that there is no parking spots for miles. This is the first time I drive to this park so this time I actually notice that finding a parking spot is really difficult.

As I wait for the ongoing traffic to move forward, there is a game going on that caught my eye because of the teams that it involved. The team defending left is wearing a striped jersey with red and black stripes, and the A.C Milan crest on the left side of the chest area. “Fly Emirates” is written on the center of the jersey, which means that the team is sponsored by Emirates airlines. The shorts are black, with the crest on he left leg and they are all wearing red socks, but the cleats are different with every player. The cleats included brands like Adidas, Nike, Puma among others. The team defending right is wearing a navy blue jersey with the Real Madrid logo on the left side of the chest area surrounded by a clear interpretation of a sun. In the center of the Jersey it had the Bwin.com logo. The shorts are also dark navy but it had lime green thin designs on the sides. As the actual teams, these teams are not as talented. They just had the jersey of some of the best teams in European leagues.

I am still stuck in the long line to find parking when I noticed a baseball field that resembles a miniature version of the Minute Made Park. I realized there is more to the park than I knew. I finally see a parking spot where all of the baseball fields are. I get out of my car and think I should for once get the experience of Bear Creek Park, so I walk towards the baseball fields. A game is going on and the stands are filled with the screams of supporting parents of different races and ethnicities. They are all supporting their kids, and all appear to have baseball fever.

I continue walking and notice some animals. I walked towards them and I see three goats. One is a tan color and a brown along its back, another was all white with the long fur. The last was youngest, and had white fur with black fur right above its hooves. Their spacious corral had a little shed in the middle, and a stack of hay so high that the goats must see it like a mountain. The goats have a water container at the front of the corral, and right next to it is an access for children to pet the goats.

Next I see two deer. One has antlers the size of an overgrown watermelon about two and a half feet from its head. It has a thin face with a nose that is as black as a night without a moon. The fur is a dark tan that shines when the sun hits it straight. The other doe has no antlers, white polka dots that really made her stand out, a very small tail, that only extended about 5 inches from its body, and more energy than the other deer.

Further on I saw that a large majestic bird with a featherless neck- an ostrich. It was hiding in the back of the corral but I saw it through two branches on a tree. As I turned towards the laughter of children across the street, I noticed a playground. It had swings painted different colors, and a blue jungle gym with all the detail is painted red. The hut-like tops are light brown except for the one in the far end which is a slide. The slide is light brown but the steps up are dark green. The slide went in circles until reaching the ground to fall onto a pebble filled sand box. There were also monkey bars and some kids racing to see who would cross them the fastest or even cross them at all.

The next animal I saw is a bison. A large fur coated bull-like animal. The horns in this animal have three to four inches in length. But it have a body that is so big it could kill a human by just sitting on him. There are three bison in the habitat but all I saw them do was stand on one spot eating grass. I kept walking and I see a little house right ahead of the road, it is an aviary. I ran forward forgetting about the peacocks that are standing rite at the front of their habitat. I got to the aviary and the first thing I saw is an owl. Its light brown eyes took your soul away the minute you saw them. Its wings are closed to its body. Its head move from side to side reflecting the movement around it. The feathery bird move its head to all directions following all of my body movement.

When I turned forward I saw a Black and brown feathered hawk. The hawk is holding on to the highest branch in the aviary; I suppose it made it feel in charge. I saw the bird take flight to another high branch he had available spotting a dead rat on the corner of the cage. I turned around and I walked out of the aviary and headed back to the path.

 As I kept walking the figure of an bronze bald eagle caught my eye. The figure stood triumphant as it dived into a bronze splash of water catching a bass. I walk towards it and I see that it has the history of the park which I had knowledge of. It says that the park was created by the United States Army Corps of Engineers as a prevention for the flooding that occurred here in Houston in 1935. In a plated crest on the floor it also said that the memorial had been build in 1985 in honor of known residents who lost their lives in World War I and the wars ever since. When I looked at the plated Crest and read over and over what it said I actually started to remember all of the dead that had came of all of those wars. I finally understand what the phrase “In the land of the brave and the home of the free” really mean, and most of all it gives you a sense of safety knowing that there are men and women fighting for all of us to keep our God given rights.

I started to walk away, and as the Bronzed eagle fades away I feel that what this park has to offer is greater than what it appears to give. I finally in my car and as I was about to sit on my driver seat I hesitate and look around. I finally get what this park is all about: It offers Knowledge, a sense of patriotism, and a gateway for your inner child to surface.

Map:

Links:

http://www.co.harris.tx.us/Pct3/parks/bearcreekpioneers.aspx

http://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/benbrook/Recreation/Parks/Corpsparks.asp

http://texasunitedfc.com/

About The Author

Juan Alvarez is a full-time student at the University of Houston-Downtown. He graduated G.W. Carver Magnet High in 2009. He is majoring in Criminal Justice to be a Police Detective. He plans to move up the chain of comamand until he is the head of a department in the FBI. For now he is currently working as full-time as Assistant Team Lead in the Adidas Store In the Galleria Mall.

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