Get in the Game

Usually when I write on the Sports Blog it is about a game, a team I like, or a book I have read. This time I want to do something a little different. It’s about getting out and enjoying playing a sport. Its summer and and you need to get outside and play. Thanks to the abundance of parks in Topeka and Shawnee County, there is ample opportunity to do just that.

Sure there are lots of great things for the young people to burn off energy and be outside.  There are countless summer-camps for any activity you can image.  Organized leagues for baseball, softball, soccer, for any age group and competive level in any part of town.  Like the young man in the picture it is part of summer playing on a ball team.

But, wait a minute.  What about the rest of us.  A great memory of my childhood is being out of doors playing and riding my bike until the street lights came on every summer day.  Age has nothing to do with that.  We can still get outside and play, no matter our age.  On any given spring or summer evening you will find, people from infants, being pushed in a stroller, families out on a bike ride, or a walk, and senior citizens out taking a walk through the neighborhood.

I have lived in Topeka most of the past 30 years and there is a lot to like about my adopted home town. One of Topeka’s jewels, is it’s park system. The parks are a great place to spend just about any afternoon or evening. I make good use of it.  My park of choice is Shunga Trail.  You can find me most evenings on the Shunga Trail. (I’m not exactly sure of the exact distance of the entire trail all I know it is a lot longer than I currently manage to walk.) Most of my time is spent on the portion of the located between Fairlawn and Gage.

Along the trail you will find of people of all ages out there walking, jogging, running, and biking anytime of the day. A couple words of caution need to be heeded. First it is always a good idea to walk or run with a friend. Secondly watch out for bicyclistsis that often the bicyclists fail to heed the posted rule to warn others as they speed past. So be careful out there.

As you enjoy your ride or run you can’t help but notice all the other sporting activities going on around you.

There are tennis courts near the Crestview Community Center and the Kossover Tennis Center in Felker Park.  From what I can tell it appears that the matches at Crestview, are a little more low-key, than the competive ones at Kossover.

In the summer softball is always being played, at either the one field near Crestview, or at the complex in Felker Park. Some of the games are played at a pretty high level some aren’t but they are all entertaining. A little further down the trail are soccer fields, a rugby field and MacDonald field where you can watch the Topeka Fireball League play baseball in the summer and a over 30 league plays in the fall

What really peaks my interest are some of the non-traditional sports I observe going on. They all look like fun and the participants all have their “game faces on.” I have tried to highlight some of the sports I see going on out there on a regular basis

  • Disc Golf (please don’t call it Frisbee golf) The course is one of 3 in Topeka and 125 in the state of Kansas of the over 4400 disc golf courses nation- wide. From watching the golfers I’ve learnt some of the technical terms and believe me they take the sport seriously. If you are lucky you might come across the big name in disc golfing Eric McCabe from Emporia, or even the libraries own G.R. Marchant.
  • Sand volleyball, what better way to get everyone involved on a summer day than taking off your shoes and playing a friendly game of sand volleyball. The game is fun to watch on TV during the Olympics, but I think it is even more fun to get dirty and play a set or two.
  • The Heartland BMX offers competition for the entire family in the sport of bicycle moto-cross on their sanctioned course. I was there one race night and struck up a conversation with one of the parents. I learnt BMX racing is a organized sport. Competitors come from all over the area races are held on numerous courses in Northeast Kansas. The Topeka course is considered the best around. If you would like more information call 271-1269.
  • Bocce Ball is played by a loyal group on a field near the softball fields at Felker Park. If you stop to watch you will find a friendly group of people. They will invite you to play and they take their game seriously. Games are played on Thursday night and Tuesday morning. The group offers free lessons if you are interested call 272-8216.

As you can see Topeka Parks and Recreation offers a sport for everyone no matter the age. If you are interested in any of these activities many more details are found on their website. Additionally you can find their catalog in various places about town including the library.   I think it is great to see is that people of all ages, want to compete and be involved in an activity that they are passionate about.