Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ammon Rec Center in The Hill District, re-opens after $600,000 spruce up

A for Ammon! P-G coverage.

They had a party, rally, ribbon-cutting of sorts with sporting superstars and politicians this week up in The Hill District, home of Ammon Rec Center.

They painted the place, put in a new floor, got weight equipment (so I understand). It does look good.

The "A" on the old floor, shown above, is used as a graphic on my wiki, "A for Athlete." The new "A" is blue -- and it had a carpet and podium covering part of it -- so I can't make a simple contrast.

The line up of superstars was long. The men and women were all great athletes -- and still are in the case of #45, D. Blair. However, they all have had a rich life in terms of being helpful to others in recreational and sports leadership. Many are teachers and coaches. All had wild stories.

The program was long. The sound was bad. But, here it is from my camera.

Of interest was the women speaker who said that sports are a way to get a college scholarship and a means to an end. She stressed over and over, "Earn your degree." (at :51.37) Next to speak was All American hooper, #45, Pitt sophomore, D. Blair. He is pulling out of college early, without his degree, to play in the NBA. Was there an exception to her rule and mantra?

Deep into the program, after about a 30-minute introduction, hear from Pitt's coach, Jamie Dixon. My gosh, that was the longest intro ever.

At the end, #45 speaks too.

I hope that Citiparks got good photos of the clebs and had a better sound source for the podium. It might run on cable TV too. That would be nice.

We love the Ozanam Program.

From Public Art
From Public Art
One of the big new attractions of the fix-up is yet to hit home, pun intended. The baseball field is getting a make over too. The Josh Gibson Foundation helped pay for the re-investment.

The swim pool is a gem as well. It is a 50-meter tank, and only the 2nd in the city. I swam there a few times last summer. More programs there, with my help, are very possible. Time will tell.

From Public Art
Speaking of multi-sport and basketball, check out this playground in Amsterdam. The basketball hoop is built upon the framework of soccer goals. To be sure, those are not regulation soccer goals, but rather team handball goals. Clever.

In China, we saw lots of kids with basketballs and lots of courts. Notice the kids on the bike have a basketball in a bike basket. (Click for a larger image.)
From china - bike

From Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates ponder current events
Courts outside of a university campus. Wonder where the kids at Pitt and CMU and DU go to play basketball? Are there any playgrounds for them to hoop in the open air? Or, is their only option a trip to the food court and ride the merry-go-round?

Our city playground nearest to my home looks like this:
From playground - usa

The problem is routine maintence. They need to spend $600,000 on a total face lift as the facilities are left to weather year after year.

The Ammon situation is a bit different. That rec center was closed by Tom Murphy, when he was mayor. They all closed for some period. Then Ammond would be turned over to a next-door church to operate for a number of years. But, the church is more into saving souls and less into saving sports facilities -- so the facility was given back to the city. Hence, the re-opening and urgent needs to fix up.

I love this image from Beijing 2008 and Adidas. It shows the sports hero, a women basketball player, running in for a lay-up and the people of China are there for support -- holding her up higher and being the support for the hoop as well.

From Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates ponder current events

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