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Sports aren’t just for kids

by Minden Press-Herald

Nobody asked me, but I have a few ideas for the new Minden Rec Center Booster Club going forward. 

Director Rocke Musgraves knows what he’s doing. I’ve known him for a long time, and there are a number of people in the city and on the council who are well-suited to finding the best ways to spend money.

I’m more interested in the big picture.

Is it possible for a city like Minden to change its habits?

Can we truck through the mud of trial and error until the entire community is behind one grand idea?

Think about someone you know who has lost fifty pounds or transformed their body. Imagine that on a city-wide scale.

Minden, just like the rest of Louisiana and the rest of our country, is out of shape. We don’t prioritize eating well or exercising, but a big part of that comes down to resources.

In other countries, health is the number-one priority. It costs less to eat well. Gym memberships don’t break the bank. There are free, open playgrounds on every block.

I’ve seen a country as big as China take a population that was crippled by tobacco addiction and over-crowding turn their heads to focus on the booming basketball market. In just two decades, China has become one of the biggest basketball countries in the world. Visit any city there and you will see hundreds of kids and adults playing basketball on the playground.

This is important. If scale is what we’re worried about here at home, look no further than China, a country with a population over 1 billion.

It won’t be easy to transform the culture in Minden. We don’t have the same (*clears throat*) style of government or methods to implement such sweeping changes.

That is why creating a booster club and putting control in the hands of the people (spearheaded by responsible leaders) is the most important first step.

Once that is established, we need ideas. 

From everyone.

Without them, we will continue struggling to keep up.

One of the easiest (read: simple) ideas is to start adult leagues for football, basketball, soccer, baseball and softball.

Adult leagues will get the parents moving, bring citizens together, and push the spirit and fun of competition back to the people. 

The way it is now, if you’re not good enough or advantaged enough to play after high school, your career in your favorite sport is finished by the time you’re 18. I know from personal experience that I’m in my prime right now as a basketball player, and I’ve been out of high school for 15 years.

We need leagues, competitions, and tournaments at all levels. It will take a massive commitment from the city, but it is worth it. In Spain, there are levels of competition as far as the eye can see. They play organized tournaments year-round and compete all over the country. Sports are not just for the kids.

But, of course, it starts with the youth. The Rec Center needs camps, fitness classes, yoga, pilates, even cooking classes on eating healthy. Anything to get all of us off of the couch and doing something together.

It is cliche now to say that these times are isolating. We’re more connected than ever, yet it can seem impossible to make new friends or do anything besides stare at our phones.

Sports bring people together. 

We need investments from the people of Minden. If you can’t support financially, see if you can give some time or ideas on how to make the dream for a healthier Minden become a reality.

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