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By Bryan Davis
Thanks to clear skies and a lot of hard work, the fall season for youth sports got off to a great start on Monday night, as over a hundred local youths converged on the Parks and Recreation sportsplex to begin the youth soccer season.
As far as fan support goes, Parks Assistant Director Jarrod McDaniel says it was the best turnout he has seen since heâ€™s been with the department.
â€śThere were a lot of people,â€ť McDaniel said. â€śAs far as crowd participation goes, it was the best Iâ€™ve seen.â€ť
McDaniel said that all of the games got started on time, and everyone was where they were supposed to be at the complex.
â€śIt makes you feel good when an opening night goes so smoothly,â€ť he said.
The grounds crew worked a lot of hard hours in the weeks prior to Monday, trying to get the fields in shape and the lines marked off on what were baseball and softball fields during the Spring and summer months.
â€śEverybody out there did their job really well,â€ť McDaniel said, adding that the concession stand workers put in a lot of long hours as well.
Last fall was a nightmare for the department, coaches and players, as far as weather is concerned. There was record rainfall during the soccer months, leading to many postponed games. This year, the air has been dry for the most part, setting the stage for what should be a great season for outdoors sports.
â€śItâ€™s funny how the weather can change from one year to another,â€ť McDaniel. said. â€śItâ€™s a blessing we got started without all the rain.â€ť
McDaniel actually scheduled an early start for the season this year, a move heâ€™s hoping will put less pressure on the department, the coaches and players as they transition into youth basketball and football.
McDaniel says that the youth peewee football season should be getting underway sometime in the next two weeks.
â€śFootball practice has been going really well,â€ť McDaniel said. â€śWeâ€™re just waiting on the jerseys.â€ť
The department opted to make some changes to peewee football as well this season. This biggest one is the fact that they expanded the number of teams in the league, and they will be playing each other here at home, instead of traveling to other towns.
The department is hoping this will save parents money on traveling expenses in the long run.
McDaniel said that another advantage is that there are more teams, putting fewer kids on each team. Last year, there was on team per age group.
â€śThis lets a lot more kids get a lot more playing time,â€ť McDainel said. â€śItâ€™s hard to get everybody in there equally when you have 50 players on a team.â€ť
Halfway through October already, other sports are going to be creeping up quickly.
The adult basketball league sign-ups are going on right now until the end of the month. There will be a coaches meeting on November 1.
Youth basketball signups will be from November â€“ December 31. The first coaches meeting for that sport will be January 3, followed by a January 17 start to the season.
January 3 will also be the first day to sign up kids for the Dizzy Dean baseball season.
Right now, the Parks department is looking to get adult flag football going. McDaniel says there are two teams currently getting locked in, but they are need of more people.
Anyone interested in getting a flag football team needs to get their rosters in to McDaniel soon. If interested, call 494-3214.