Chapel Hill: Sports

Dear Santa: What rec agencies really want for Christmas

Titans coach O.J. Holman (at rear) is one of several volunteers who works with kids in Chapel Hill’s recreation football program.
Titans coach O.J. Holman (at rear) is one of several volunteers who works with kids in Chapel Hill’s recreation football program. RANDY YOUNG

As we all know, Santa Claus doesn’t need halogen headlights on his sleigh. If a brave red-nosed reindeer could lead the Santa about his appointed rounds through the “storm of the century” one foggy Christmas Eve many years ago, then there’s likely little else that might stand in his way.

Sure, escalating prices on farm-fresh, gluten-free reindeer feed might be a cause for concern, but rain, winds, drought, ice? No problem…

Not so for many area recreation administrators, however, who scratch out baseball, football, softball, and soccer schedules with the precision of rocket scientists, only to be sent back to the drawing board in the event of a passing thunderstorm. So, it’s not a surprise to find that at least a few are including cooperative weather in their letters to Mr. Kringle this season.

With the large field at Carrboro’s Anderson Park recuperating after extensive renovations, Carrboro Recreation and Parks recreation supervisor Charles Harrington said copious amounts of rain would help establish the new turf system, so precipitation’s definitely featured prominently in his letter to the “Jolly Ol’ Elf,” as long as Harrington can turn off the spigot just before the spring season sports schedules begin.

“The number one thing on our Christmas list this year, and I’m sure Santa will provide it for us, is good weather, especially with the field renovation out at Anderson Park,” Harrington said.

“We’d love a little bit of rain, but then it needs to stop right about when our outdoor game seasons start and switch over to mild weather.”

“We’re also looking for coaches for spring baseball, girls’ field hockey, and girls’ volleyball,” Harrington added. “Those are our major needs as far as athletic coaches are concerned.”

That sentiment was echoed by Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation athletic specialist Mike Troutman.

“The number thing we’d ask Santa Claus for is volunteers: that almost goes without saying,” Troutman said. “We can always use more volunteers with our programs.”

Troutman said the second item on his Christmas wish list would be solid registration for spring activities.

“We’d like to see baseball registration go well in January. That’s the next big thing on our calendar to be focused on,” Troutman said. Registration will start Jan. 4 for local residents and Jan. 18 for others.

“Our online brochure will be posted before that,” Troutman said. “That’s before the classes are actually open to registration. It will be the usual spring events.”

Harrington said registration for Carrboro sports and activities will be just a few days later – for Carrboro residents on Jan. 6 and everybody else on Jan. 7, Harrington said.

Greg Lee, Communications Director of the YMCA of the Triangle, remained for the most part far-reaching in the scope of his Christmas wish list for the Y’s Chapel Hill – Carrboro on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

“I think we’d ask Santa for continued great support from our members and more opportunities to connect with them,” Lee said. “We want them to understand all the things the Y can be to them beyond just a place to work out, so our wish would be to be even more deeply connected with our community.”

Only slightly more quantifiable is Lee’s wish for member generosity at the Chapel Hill – Carrboro branch.

“Beginning this week, we’re collecting coats, hats, and gloves,” Lee said. The YMCA plans to distribute those to members of the homeless community on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on Jan. 18. “So I guess what we’re asking Santa for is a generous spirit.”

The Y is partnering with the Chapel Hill Police Department, Med Deli, and Twig on the MLK service project.

The Orange County SportsPlex isn’t asking for much for Christmas – only blood.

In the wake of a series of activities and events in recognition of the 10th anniversary of their alignment with Orange County, the facility is hosting a blood drive today, Dec. 23.

Also, the SportPlex is asking Santa for ground to break on its new indoor field house.

“Construction hasn’t started yet, but we’re hoping it will start sometime early in 2016,” said Robin Zwilling, the Orange County Sports-Plex’s membership and marketing director.

According to plans, a new facility of about 35,000-square feet would include an indoor soccer field, a three-lane indoor walking / jogging track, and a basketball court.

As for the rest of us, we can only wish that Santa comes through for our area agencies, that rain will pour until it stops, that program registration will flood until it overflows, and that these Christmas memories will live on, well, until we begin our next Christmas.

Remember, with the leap year, there are only 368 shopping days left.