Phelps: Thug life?
Subject: What does everyone’s favorite Olympian and Omar Little have in common?
I have a good question for you, Kevin. I read an interesting story in this morning’s China Daily. Guess which local Olympian this quote refers to:
The former kid from the mean streets of Baltimore was about to have a dream shattered again...
Hmm… Basketball star Carmelo Anthony, right?
It refers to Michael Phelps, of course!!!! Technically, I think he grew up on the mean streets of Rodgers Forge, which isn't technically even in Baltimore. Because the China Daily only has so much space, I thought we should figure out just how tough those mean streets are, so I consulted an expert -- your wife.
I'm not sure if you realized this Kevin, but while you're out here goofing off at the pool each day, your poor wife is back in Maryland packing up all of your belongings and moving into a new home. You might recall that you closed on this home hours before you boarded a plane for Beijing. (OK, everyone's wondering about it, so I'll just ask: What kind of man leaves his wife home to pack everything??!? Have you no shame, man?) Anyhow, your new home happens to be near where Phelps grew up. Here's the scouting report on the "mean streets" from the lovely and talented Jennifer McMenamin, who is a Baltimore County native and now covers that area for The Sun. She totally used the word 'persnickety' in her explanation:
Nicknamed the Forge, the venerable neighborhood near Towson was carefully laid out in 1928 by a Baltimore developer intent on building a better rowhouse. The 1,777 two- and three-story red brick row houses follow the gentle curve of the streets, many of which are tree-lined. It's known as a place at Halloween where trick-or-treaters are guaranteed a big haul -- and where residents need to load up on candy for kids that flock there even from outside the neighborhood each October. The neighborhood is full of families and there are almost always parents pushing children in strollers along the narrow sidewalks and kids running through front yards.
Sooo, not so mean.
In fact, the only time I think people even become mean in Rodgers Forge is when they can't find a parking space (it can be pretty tight, especially on the few occasions when Baltimore gets more than a quarter inch of snow) or when someone violates the strictly enforced architectural standards of the community. Neighborhood residents can get quite persnickety about those standards. They dictate everything from the community association's view on front yard fences (they are not allowed) and exterior paint colors (any hue other than white must be submitted for approval for a home's trim and shutters) to patios (they must be brick or masonry, even with the ground and in the rear yard only) and lawn ornaments (don't even think about it). And the community association doesn't hesitate to take a wayward homeowner to court over a violation.