Whereas” begins a proclamation. The word used as such connotes consequence: “Because the following things are true, I proclaim that something should happen.” But it also has another, conflicting meaning: “while on the contrary.”

Whereas Hoops is built on just such a tension, one built into the basketball landscape of the city of St. Louis, Missouri, and its “crown jewel,” Forest Park.

Whereas basketball has no presence in Forest Park, we celebrate the game’s long history in St. Louis.” In this sentence, whereas can fulfill both of its meanings: it is both true that basketball is formally absent from the park AND that this formal absence marks the park such that once you notice it, the game becomes more present for being so obviously denied.

Whereas Hoops, a collaboration of John Early and Noah Cohan, examines that absent presence. It tells the story of basketball in St. Louis, Forest Park, and all the power lines (race, class, gender) that connect them, whatever any proclamations to the contrary may insist.