Recreation center hopping with activities

High school’s use of gym works well for all parties

ASHEBORO — Use of the Asheboro Recreation Center is almost nonstop and that’s expected to continue through the winter.

The boost in activity comes for various reasons, largely with Asheboro High School using the venue for basketball and wrestling as the gym on campus is part of a renovation project.

“The relationship we have with Parks and Rec and what they’ve really done for us has been great,” Asheboro High School athletics director Steve Luck said. “They’ve just reached out tremendously. The behind-the-scenes things they’ve done have been great.”

The busy times for the City of Asheboro’s recreation department staff have come with an uptick of visibility for the center. That exposure is bound to be good for a facility that was upgraded two years ago.

“It has brought a lot of awareness to our facility,” said Jody Maness, assistant director of the city’s recreation services. “That has helped make people aware of what we have and it has brought in more people.”

There are challenges in fitting in all the activities as gym use has become coveted.

The recreation department’s youth basketball program kicks into gear with games in January and February, though practices have already started. The high school teams use the gym for basketball practices, with the girls’ varsity and junior varsity usually combined for team workouts in the late afternoons and the boys’ varsity practicing into the early evenings. The boys’ JV team uses South Asheboro Middle School for evening practices.

Recreation teams have started their practices.

“The biggest issue has been juggling our practices with (the high school teams),” Maness said. 

To accommodate that, optional practice times for recreation teams have been created at the gym during the Christmas break. Some practice periods right a tad later into the evening than previously, but Maness said those are limited because these are youth teams.

Also, there have been some practice slots available Sunday afternoons.

There are about 20 youth teams, ranging in ages from 4-15. There are co-ed teams in the younger divisions.

Like the high school seasons, the recreation leagues generally wrap up by late February.

“It’s just a matter of everybody communicating,” Maness said of fitting in all the games and practices.

It has gone well from the Blue Comets’ perspective, Luck said.

“We’ve almost been nomadic,” he said of not having a home base at the school. “They’re working with us, making sure we’re getting our practices in. It’s a neat facility. We’re there most of the time.”

Luck said the recreation department’s staffing level has aided the high school. He said former Asheboro students Matt Auman and Justin Gerringer being on the center’s staff has been a bonus.

Through the first several weeks of the winter sports seasons, Luck said the experiences have been good for the Blue Comets. He said he expects there to be long-term memories for athletes and coaches.

“They’re going to see the recreation center and say, ‘Remember ’21-’22, we played basketball and wrestled there,’ ” he said.

The recreation center’s gym holds about 600 people, so that’s less than half of the capacity of the high school’s gym. There have been a few times that spectators for the high school games have nearly filled the recreation center’s gym, Maness said.

With all those people coming to the gym, it has provided exposure to a wider audience. Maness said some of those people might return to use parts of the center.

For the next couple of months, the recreation center should be hopping with activities.

“It’s going to be a lot of stuff in there for several weeks,” Maness said. “Probably something every night. But we’re happy to be part of this. This meets the needs of the community.”

Maness said recreation participation numbers have trended higher in many parts of the country as people wanted to be active after they were idled at the beginning of the pandemic

Maness said time slots have been found for all established programs that have been based at the recreation center. He said discussions regarding new endeavors have been delayed, some potential programs that already had been pushed back during the pandemic.

By Bob Sutton

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