I live in a townhouse on R Street.

It’s a simple place with a purple door and a broken window pane. It’s the last Hilltop residence of five generally upstanding Georgetown dudes.

It doesn’t have a phone – or a phone number, as far as we can figure out – and lacks what some people would call style, and what others might call minimum standards for human occupation.

We like our landlord just fine, but have decided that, in order to defray the cost of rent, it is time that we seek corporate sponsorship.

Everybody’s doing it – and I do mean everybody.

A couple of years ago, a small school in New Jersey received $100,000 to rename its gymnasium after the local supermarket. And so, the school plastered the side of the facility with a light-up sign declaring that fans had arrived at the “ShopRite of Brooklawn Center,” and in return, the school will receive a sizeable check every year for the next two decades until the sign is paid in full.

And the school?

Not Rutgers.

Not Princeton.

No, the school was the Alice Costello School – a middle school in a town of about 2,000 people just south of Camden, N.J.

Corporate sponsorship has gone too far when it reaches into the realm of kids shooting hoops in a building any other school would be content simply to call “the gym.”

Corporate sponsorship has become a fact of life in professional sports. We’ve had to accept the fact that there aren’t going to be many new stadiums named after just one person; no more Shea Stadiums or Comiskey Parks – yes, last year even the 93-year home of the White Sox received a new name with a corporate ring to it, becoming U.S. Cellular Field for at least the next 23 years.

We’re even seeing fewer and fewer of those non-descript stadium names like Mile High Stadium. The Orlando “O-rena” became the T.D. Waterhouse Centre a few years ago. The old Boston Garden – an institution in the sporting world – was razed to the ground and replaced by the Fleet Center.

Instead we get arenas named after products that are in no way related to sports like the oft-ridiculed PETCO Park. Or the too-many-obvious-jokes-to-pick-one stadiums like Enron Field.

And I suppose in a way, corporate sponsorship at the professional level isn’t all that harmful. After all, publicly funded stadiums have to be paid for one way or another, and naming them after the big corporate donors keeps the cost off the shoulders of taxpayers.

But commercialism in middle school? Even in high school?

What exactly are we trying to teach these kids?

Brooklawn school board President Bruce Darrow called the corporate sponsorship “the wave of the future.”

When most of us were in elementary school and high school, we had buildings just like the Alice Costello School has – a basketball court, a concession stand and maybe a couple of locker rooms. But it didn’t have a fancy name, and it didn’t need one.

Heck, I guess I was lucky: my elementary school even had a field where we could play soccer, run laps or throw a football around. And it wasn’t the Southeast Mutual Funds and Insurance AstroTurf Field or anything absurd like that. It was made of asphalt. And it was called the parking lot.

And that was just fine with us.

The sports world is still grappling with the idea of corporate sponsorship at the professional and collegiate levels. There is no way the world is ready to begin seeing signs for ShopRite Center or Eastern Financial Florida Credit Union Stadium at Everglades High School or Rust-Oleum Field at Vernon Hills High. But those signs are here, and according to some proponents, they’re here to stay.

“Twenty-five years from now, when this is widespread and accepted, people will say it all started here,” Brooklawn school superintendent John Kellmayer said. “I’m fine with that. I wish we had started earlier and done more of it.”

And Brooklawn isn’t planning on stopping at its gym. The school has a price list and is waiting for more buyers. For $5,000, companies can put their name in the circle at the center of the gym floor; $2,500 will get you advertising near the baseline; and $500 puts your banner on the wall.

So apparently this corporate sponsorship thing is the wave of the future, and just about anyone, it seems, can get one – or several. As for our house on R Street, we’re getting in on the ground floor.

With no telephone number, we may have trouble attracting some of the big telecommunications companies, but we can always hope for a bidding war between Nike and Reebok for naming rights to our house. Pest control producer Raid has already made an offer to name our basement. But of course we’ll sell the rights to our backyard to a local favorite. We’ll call it Wagner’s Field.

Send me a few bucks and maybe we’ll name the couch after you.

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