Numbers up for city adult sport leagues
July 29, 2014
Steamboat Springs — It's been a busy summer at Howelsen Hill — a little busier than normal, too.
Numbers are up considerably this summer in the Parks, Open Spaces and Recreational Services Department’s softball and volleyball leagues, and now organizers are hoping that momentum can be sustained into its fall soccer leagues.
This year's softball season actually first was notable for a consolidation. Where there were four leagues — men's A league and coed B, C and D leagues — there now are closer to three. The B league, usually playing Tuesday night, didn't have enough entries, dropping from six a year ago to four this year, so several C league teams have been getting scheduled in for interleague contests.
That fact belies the nature of the season, however. The total number of teams tying on the cleats during weekdays this summer at Howelsen Hill is up 11 percent, from 45 to 50. The biggest glut is in C league, with 25 teams.
Finding a way to unclog that congestion will be a focus heading into next year.
A league gained one team, up to 14. The D league went from 10 teams to 12, but that wasn't the biggest change in that league. The league adopted wooden bats for men, a trial of sorts, said David Stevenson, Parks and Recreation sports coordinator.
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"We had a little pushback from some teams and some players, but really not a lot," he said. "People understand it and a lot of people have embraced it and think it's a good thing."
The motive was safety.
"A lot of other communities are going to wood bats exclusively in all of their leagues," he said. "We'll see what direction we go, but for D league, you have guys and gals who maybe have never played any form of baseball or softball, then you have Johnny who's a men’s A league player and rips one up the middle. It was a safety thing."
The volleyball leagues saw even more growth this summer, a 45 percent increase from 20 to 29 teams, playing on the sand courts at the base of Howelsen.
"People know we have a sweet facility," Stevenson said. "Not every town has something like that, especially smaller towns, and the parks guys do a great job maintaining it and keeping the sand fresh. It's catching on, it's fairly laid back and people are having fun."
Next up for the department in terms of sports is men’s and women’s soccer leagues. The women’s league is returning while the men’s league will be new, all playing with a seven-on-seven format.
They start in September and will play Tuesday and Thursday nights at Ski Town Field.
A fall basketball league also may be in the works, though the details there remain up in the air.