Parks and Rec offers adult fun

Published 10:35 pm Friday, February 15, 2013

Adult slow-pitch church softball teams compete at Peanut Park during the Suffolk Parks & Recreation Department’s 2012 season.

This is a busy time of year for the Suffolk Parks and Recreation Department, as workers there get people registered and prepared for the beginning of the spring sports season, which this year includes opportunities in no fewer than seven different organized activities for adults.

Registration started at the beginning of this month for opportunities including a women’s basketball league, a monthly co-ed pick-up soccer game night, tennis lessons and co-ed leagues for kickball, slow-pitch church softball, church basketball and Ultimate Frisbee.

Parks and Recreation Director Lakita Watson said the goal behind providing these opportunities for adults is “to encourage individuals to stay active beyond their childhood years.”

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“With the levels of obesity — not just in our children; it starts with us as parents and adults, and as long as we can stay active as well — it encourages our children to stay healthy and active,” she said.

The city has had success in the past with some of these programs.

“Adult kickball has been going on for several years now, so it’s one of those things that we started, it works and it’s been continuously working, along with our church slow-pitch softball,” she said. “Those two are our strongest adult leagues.”

Kickball registration wraps up March 31, and games will be played at Peanut Park on South Saratoga Street each Monday night, beginning April 15.

The church softball season starts April 26, with weekly games played Friday evenings at Wellons Ball Field on Pender Street.

For the co-ed church basketball league, weekly games taking place on Monday and Tuesday nights will commence on March 11 at the Mack Benn Jr. Recreation Center and the Booker T. Washington Recreation Center.

The women’s basketball league will also hold weekly games at the Northern Shores Recreation Center starting on March 24.

Watson explains how the city decides which sports activities to provide to the public.

“We do a survey for our various activities and programs and on those surveys, we compile the information that is given to us about activities and sports that people would like to see come to Suffolk,” she said.

She cited the fitness facility at the East Suffolk Recreation Center as a key resource. Individuals coming to work out there have shared what they are participating in and what they would be interested in doing if the city made it available.

“So, we take these opportunities like the soccer pick-up night as well as the ultimate Frisbee, our two newest programs,” she said. “We are taking a chance to shoot these pilot programs off to see if we can build strong programs off of what we’ve heard from the citizens.”

The co-ed soccer pick-up game night is free of charge and will take place on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. beginning in March at Monogram Field on Sleepy Hole Road.

Co-ed Ultimate Frisbee game night will be held on the first and second Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. starting on March 12. It will take place at Wellons Ball Field.

For those interested in tennis lessons, they will be conducted this spring at the Howard Mast Tennis Complex, located behind Farm Fresh on Holly Lawn Parkway.

Registration for each sport, with the exception of the pick-up soccer game, can be accomplished by visiting the Parks and Recreation administrative offices on 136 S. Sixth Street between the times of 8:30 a.m. and

5 p.m. However, registration times after 5 p.m. can be coordinated with athletic supervisor Jason Jones if an individual’s work schedule prevents them from going during the day. Jones can be reached at 514-7254.

To participate in the soccer pick-up game night, a simple phone call to Parks & Rec at 514-7250 is sufficient so the department knows how many individuals to expect. The department will also have a staff member present at Monogram Field on game nights.

Watson explained the general registration guideline that applies to all of the leagues.

“Most of our things are team sports-related, and so we encourage individuals to bring in an entire team for registration for the variety of programs,” she said. “However, if there are individuals that are interested in participating and don’t already have a team, we take their information and share it with other coaches that have teams so that the adults still have the chance to participate.”