West Point Parks and Recreation faces challenges as fall sports approach

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, August 6, 2022

The West Point Parks and Recreation Center finished their summer season with baseball and softball, but now they’ll shift their focus to fall sports, which include football, soccer and cheerleading.

Boys ages 8-12 will be able to participate in tackle football while girls of the same age are able to participate in cheerleading. West Point will also host coed flag football for kids ages 5-7.

Kids ages 4-14 will also be able to play soccer, which will start out with a soccer clinic hosted by Point coaches.

For adults, West Point Parks and Recreation will provide ballet, fitness bootcamp, flex and Zumba.

With the season starting in September, West Point Parks and Recreation Director Mike Pitts is dealing with issues pertaining to equipment for football.

“The biggest headache we’ve had with football is finding helmets,” Pitts said. “We furnish all the equipment for our kids to make sure they have approved equipment. You have to recertify them every two years. If a helmet is ten years old, you have to throw it away.”

The issue has mainly been finding and ordering the helmets.

“The last two years, there’s been a problem getting helmets in, and the cost has gone up,” Pitts said. “The cost is an issue, but it’s not the main issue. We had to find a dealer that had some on the shelves in south Georgia. Every size we needed wasn’t there. We’re short on some medium helmets, but we’re still looking.”

The reason there has been a shortage is correlated with the supply shortage that has affected the world over the past few years.

“These companies have to get parts to fix the helmets,” Pitts said. “All these parts are made overseas, and they’re just sitting in containers somewhere.”

Luckily for Pitts, they recertified their helmets last year, so they won’t have to worry about that until next year.

One of the other things West Point Parks and Recreation is dealing with is recruiting coaches for fall sports. While they are bringing back several coaches from last year, they will still have to recruit some coaches.

“We’ll have to get the coaches together on the first day,” Pitts said. “They all know they can come in and fill out a volunteer form. We put them through a background check before they start coaching. A lot of the coaches that coached baseball have kids that play football and soccer. Hopefully, it will go well.”