As many may know, I am a member of the City of Enid Parks Board. Last year, we were tasked with taking a look at the feasibility of the City of Enid entering into the arena of running youth sports programs in our city.
Today the Dying Dinosaur ran an article that has a headline that says it stalled in the Parks Board. Yes, it did but certainly not of our doing.
We held many discussions on youth sports in our meetings. The City of Enid’s Director of Parks and Recreation, Matt Beck and Parks and Rec Employee Cole Whatley informed us of lots of research they were performing in the process. Throughout this process, we were told to hold off on doing anything else until we had a better idea of what their research would prove out and whether it would be a feasible venture. Numbers wise, we were ultimately informed that it was very possible for the City to not only do it, but possibly profit from doing youth sports. Not a huge profit, but still not LOSE money. Throughout this process, we heard from the Enid Soccer Club, the Softball Association, and the YMCA at our various meetings. It was refreshing to hear their opinions and have them engage us in the process. Noticeably absent was EJRT.
EJRT was an issue of itself. The City maintained, and still does, that they received many complaints about EJRT during the seasons. EJRT maintains they do not receive those complaints. Here’s what I know. As a member of the Parks Board, people come to me and complain about various things about our parks. I’m glad they do. That’s what I want to hear. I carry those things to meetings and try to address them. But generally, I get complaints about EJRT. There is not much I can do about that. And it is horribly frustrating. Having said all of that, I also know there are good and bad things about the City running a youth sports program. No system will be 100% perfect and there will always be someone who won’t be happy or someone who just can’t be satisfied. What people need to realize is that the program is for the kids and whatever is done needs to be done in the best interest of them and the long-term viability of the program.
In the end, the Parks Boards job is to gather as much information as possible so that we can make an informed recommendation to the City Council. We were eloquently called out yesterday by city staff for not doing that, despite being told to stay in a holding pattern until staff could gather information themselves. We ended our meeting agreeing that new City Manager Gilbert should have a chance to gather his thoughts and weigh in on this before anything else is done. It’s the fair thing to do at this point in the process since he’s jumping in on the horse so-to-speak in the middle of the race.
Have an opinion on youth sports and how it should be ran? Leave your comments. I will share them with the rest of the board. Pro-EJRT, pro-city, maybe you think both should have a league, maybe neither should, whatever your opinion, I certainly want to hear it. If you’d prefer not to share you opinion publicly I understand you can always email me at email@example.com.