Feature Article - October 2009
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At the Forefront of Fun

Up-and-Coming Sports to Expand Your Offerings

By Jessica Royer Ocken

Did We Get the Ball Rolling?

Feeling inspired yet? If not, other sports to consider include the elementary school classics dodgeball and kickball, as well as broomball—a game played wearing sneakers on ice. (Visit www.usabroomball.com, www.kickball.com, and www.dodgeballusa.com for details.)

"Other sports which are emerging and would be good for park districts, community recreational facilities, schools and colleges include touch rugby, indoor soccer, archery…and possibly paintball," said Mike May of the SGMA. Your creativity is the only limit to what you can introduce, but keep in mind that "sports and activities that had 'statistically significant' growth from 2007 to 2008 were either fitness or family/social activities that don't cost much money to play," the SGMA reports.

So, start small, but take a chance and try something new. It's a great feeling to know your facilities are being used to the max. For example, since it opened in 1999, the 440,000-square-foot Ritchie Center on the campus of University of Denver has been available for students and faculty to use, as well as the surrounding community. The Center currently boasts about 1,000 community members, and it includes an array of sports and fitness options from two ice arenas to the nation's only turf field lacrosse stadium to outdoor, lighted tennis courts. In addition to working out on the fitness equipment, DU students enjoy a variety of intramural and club sports, and the community can participate in an assortment of youth and adult sports programs.

And the benefits of having all this action under one roof? "Kids can progress through our programs, beginning with a learn-to program followed by participation in a youth competitive program, and in some cases student and adult programs," said Ruth Brown, director of marketing for campus and community programs. "Literally there is something for everyone."