By Natalie Simms
Coming off a successful Men’s Summer Basketball League and now preparing for Men’s Flag Football this fall, Rome-Floyd Parks and Rec is expanding its focus to reach adults in addition to its traditional kids sports and senior adult programs.
“We want to reach out to each age group in the community and give them the opportunity to remain active through sports,” says Jay Houston, Sports Coordinator. “The new adult leagues allow former athletes and friends to come together as a community and participate in the games they enjoy.”
RFPRA launched the Men’s Summer Basketball League in June with nine teams of seven to 10 players. Games were played on Tuesday and Thursday nights at both the Anthony Center in Garden Lakes and the Gilbreath Center in Lindale. A single elimination playoff tournament was held in early August.
“We were really surprised about the Men’s Basketball League…it was an awesome turnout. We plan to offer a Winter League this upcoming March. We hope we have enough to offer both a competitive league and recreational league. We are also looking to offer a coed 3-on-3 Basketball League for men and women,” says Houston.
For the Men’s Basketball League, players had to be at least 18 years old and out of high school. Houston says most of the players this year were in their mid-20s but there were some older groups of players in their mid-30s.
“It was such a fun season. We had a lot of fans come to the games. It was a good atmosphere. So many players from different backgrounds and ethnicities coming together…it was great to see the community come together like that,” he says.
Bud Todd served as the Team Captain for the Trion Goats team who won the Summer Basketball League Championship after defeated the PuroClean Team, 71-51, in the tournament in early August. Todd, who has played in several leagues all over the region, says he enjoyed the atmosphere in Rome.
“I played basketball in college and in a bunch of leagues over the last 10 years all over including Chattanooga, East Ridge and Cartersville. It was great to have one in Rome so I didn’t have to travel far,” says Todd.
“But playing in the other leagues, there was always some hostility between other teams or the referees or fans. But here, that was almost non-existent with this league. Everyone was very courteous and good with each other…it really made for a pleasant experience.”
Todd says he hopes to become a “permanent” part of the Rome League.
“I really like playing basketball. I would play year-round if they would let me. So, I would love to play both summer and winter. I would definitely like to see it expand enough to offer both a recreation and a competitive league,” he says.
Houston hopes the success of the Summer Basketball League will fuel more growth. Next up is an Adult Men’s Flag Football League starting this fall. Registration is open through Sept. 24 for teams of seven to 16 players.
“It will be 7-on-7 flag football. We hope to have at least nine to 10 teams participate. We will have games on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. over at Riverview Park behind the levee,” he says.
“Folks can sign up as an individual for $60 to play or they can sign up an entire team for $500 team registration. Those that sign up individually will come to our ‘Free Agent’ night to form a team or join another team of their choice.”
Flag football games will run from early October through late November. “We think it will do great…there are so many folks who played football in high school or college that want to play again,” he says.
Are there any other adult sports leagues to come? Houston says they may organize a Women’s Flag Football tournament in mid-October with six teams participating. Look for more details on that soon. Another idea is an adult softball league. Houston says there are lots of logistics to consider with softball but one they are discussing for 2020.
For more information about any of the RFPRA Adult Leagues or to sign up for Men’s Flag Football, contact Houston at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can register at the RFRPA Main Office at 1 Shorter Ave. in Rome. Website / Facebook