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Cities prepare for rec sports, including adult leagues for Russellville

Russellville Parks and Recreation Director Donnie Flanagan said the clamoring has continued for adult sports leagues in Russellville. Those requests have been heard, and Russellville Parks and Rec is holding signups for two different adult sports this spring.

“At this point, this is something we know we want to do,” Flanagan said. “We hope we have enough teams to make it happen this spring, but if we don’t, we will try again in the fall. We are going to keep trying to make it happen.”

Registration is open for co-ed slow pitch softball and 3-on-3 basketball. The deadline to register for both is Feb. 20.

Flanagan said cost is $60 per team for basketball and $350 per team for softball, with the winner of each sport receiving their registration money back.

There will need to be at least six teams for basketball and four teams for softball. Teams will play against each other on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Flanagan said several years ago Russellville used to offer adult sports, and he has had several people request that they return.

Among the people requesting adult sports is Derek Henderson, who often travels to play adult softball.

“It will be nice to have it in Russellville because we frequently have to travel to Florence or places like that throughout the week to play,” Henderson said.

Henderson said he got into adult softball three years ago and has been playing ever since as a way to get away from his work life.

“I use this as my gym, as a way to get my mind off of everything while hanging out with my buddies,” Henderson said.

Flanagan said the department planned to offer an adult softball league this past fall, but it never launched because of COVID-19.

“I’m really just trying to bring that back to get guys and girls of this age out and active,” Flanagan said.

Flanagan said he is also looking into adding additional adult sports in the future but is hoping to have success with softball and basketball first.

“The goal, I think, is to get everyone to have fun and be like a kid again,” Flanagan said. “We are really looking forward to it.”

To register, stop by the Ralph C. Bishop Center or call 256-332-8770 for more information.

Recreation departments in both Russellville and Red Bay are also gearing up for a slate of spring youth sports. After COVID-19 ended the 2020 season for youth sports before they even had a chance to begin, spirits are high and officials are hopeful as registration begins for 2021.

Russellville will be offering youth T-ball, softball and baseball, and Red Bay will be offering youth baseball.

“I think at this point a lot of kids are ready to get outside and be able to play,” said Flanagan.

The cost is $50 to sign up for Russellville and Red Bay spring sports. The deadline is Feb. 20 for Russellville and Feb. 28 for Red Bay.

Flanagan said there will be two or three teams for each Russellville age group. The goal is to play surrounding schools, but Flanagan said that will depend on how COVID-19 numbers are looking closer to the beginning of the season.

Red Bay Parks and Rec Director Dean Hubbard said there will be a couple of teams in each Red Bay age group. Teams will travel to play against surrounding schools of Belgreen, Belmont, Phil Campbell, Vina and Tishomingo.

“I think a lot of kids are really eager right now to be able to get out and do something,” Hubbard said.

Practices for Russellville spring sports will begin at the end of February, and Red Bay practices will begin in early April, with the season lasting until June to allow for warmer weather.

“We are hoping the warmer weather and pushing things back a month will hopefully help the season go smoother,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard said he is hopeful for success in the baseball season, despite Red Bay Parks and Rec just having to end its basketball season short because of COVID-19 numbers.

“I think since this is outside, it will not be the same as indoor sports,” Hubbard said. “With basketball, we had a lot of problems with kids being in a group in a closer area. I think baseball will be better since it will be outside and everyone can spread out a lot easier.”

Hubbard said players will also be required to wear masks in the dugout, and fans can bring chairs and spread out all the way around the fields if they choose.

“We are going to do the best we can do, but it all comes down to common sense,” Hubbard added.

Both Hubbard and Flanagan said they are excited to begin this spring season and see the children outside playing again.

“We really missed this last year, so we are ready to be back out on the field,” Flanagan said.

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