Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

Wanna Play!

Nobody lives in North Florida or South Georgia because they have to. Nobody has to stay here because they owe money to the company store. So why is it that our civic leaders, elected and otherwise, can’t figure out that’s the frame of reference they should be using for every decision?

Is it right that we’re the largest land-mass city in the continental US and have nine miles of bike paths? And only one dedicated trail for cycling, running, etc.?

Recreation and sports are the life-blood of the people who live here. Jobs are tough to come by, and the ones that are here aren’t, on average, the highest paying in comparison to other cities. So people are here because they want to be and their off-the-job activities are important to them. Yet it seems it’s the last thing on the agenda when it comes to spending money on the quality of life here.

You name it, there’s not enough of them here.

Tennis courts, baseball/softball fields, soccer pitches, lacrosse fields, etc. Many times it’s left up to the private developers to set aside land for recreation somewhere within the confines of the community.


Because it’s a selling point.

Our part of the country is attractive because of the lifestyle. Everybody does something. Run, bike, swim, sail, play golf, tennis, paddle board, whatever, everybody’s got something they do. So it ought to be a priority, along with public education and transportation to keep parks open, to keep building fields where kids and adults can play and to create programs to entice people to get involved.

I know there are private, not-for-profit organizations like the Mal Washington Foundation and the First Tee that identify and help kids stay out of trouble and learn life skills through sports. But if you just wanted to go throw the football with friends would you know where to go? Do you know where the nearest basketball court is where you can find a pickup game? Would you rollerblade on your street? Where would you go to ride your bike? Take a walk?

Where we live is our greatest asset. Let’s figure out how to use it.