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Adult Sports Leagues in Gwinnett County

team sports by TONY RONCO Every year, numerous high school and collegiate athletes from Gwinnett County will play their final game in their respective sport. Or will they? Today, over 5,000 athletes are still playing sports in Gwinnett County thanks to Gwinnett County Adult Athletics. Adult athletes come from a variety of backgrounds and ages, ranging anywhere from 18 to 60 years old. Many are former collegiate athletes that have played at Georgia colleges such as Kennesaw State University. Sports that can be played through Gwinnett County Adult Athletics include flag football, volleyball, and softball. Leagues are held all year round depending on the season and the demand. Playing in an adult league is very simple. Anyone can sign up and teams are typically created by the players. There are no tryouts or evaluations. Each team compiles their own group of players which usually consists of friends, relatives, or co-workers. The team will then select their sport and league to play in based on their interests and availability during the week. Individuals without a team are also able to play as Gwinnett County Adult Athletics will keep a running list of individuals they will contact when a team is in need of another player. The adult leagues are very successful largely due to the uniqueness and labor of the organization and staff. With so many teams, (there are over 350 teams per year in softball alone) Gwinnett County is able to provide different types of leagues which allows teams to play with others at their level of play. Gwinnett County is committed to provid-

ing their players with the best experience possible. Part of this means providing top notch facilities and fields. Field maintenance is taken very seriously as each field is dragged and lined daily. Safety is also very important. The organization goes so far as to test every softball bat to make sure it is on par with regulations. Another necessity is to provide quality officials. A poor officiating crew can ruin a sports game. Therefore, Gwinnett County puts a strong emphasis on providing adequate officials. In softball, all officials are accredited by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA).

“It was a lot of joy,” said Edwards. Edwards went so far as to attribute his team’s success in the state tournament to the work of Gwinnett County Adult Athletics. He mentioned the quality of the fields, the organization of events, and the competition which he claims to be “second to none.”

At the helm of Gwinnett County Adult Athletics is adult athletic coordinator, Stacy Fowler. Fowler believes that what makes his organization special is their family atmosphere. All leagues are held to a high standard of sportsmanship. Misconduct such as profanity is not tolerated. Fowler does as much as possible for adult athletics himself, but he attributes much of the organization’s success to his staff, particularly four parttime members that work night games. All four have been with the organization for at least ten years and set the tone in terms of culture for the players.

“(The best part about playing) is just guys getting out here and enjoying some peace and relaxation from the daily grind at work,” he said. Being able to get out and just live life and continue to be able to play ball. We’re blessed every day. We’re not promised tomorrow. We’re thankful we have the opportunity to play ball here.”

“They’re familiar with everything that we do,” said Fowler. “They love being out there with the players. When people get upset they know how to handle those kinds of situations. We definitely could not be successful with our retention of teams without them. They help start that family atmosphere.” Jeremy Edwards, a two sport athlete and former North Gwinnett High School baseball player, decided to get back into athletics eighteen years ago because of his own competitiveness, desire for camaraderie, and love of the game. Since then, he has been very successful, particularly in softball where he led his team to a state championship. Last season, the “Mean Machine” as Edwards’s team is called, became the first team from Gwinnett County to win the Men’s Equalizer Slow Pitch State Championship.

He also talked about how Stacy Fowler “bends over backwards” to help them in any way that he can. However, even with all of the success his team has experienced, winning is not the foremost compelling factor that drives Edwards to the ball field every week.

In the future, Stacy Fowler hopes to see the organization continue to grow. According to Fowler, numbers fell during the economic decline, which caused the loss of many of the industrial leagues. Fowler, a former Columbus State basketball player, hopes to see the return of industrial leagues and also hopes to hold basketball leagues once again as early as next year. For years, Gwinnett County has gone above and beyond to deliver the best experience possible for their adult athletes and they are committed to continuing to do so. Whether the desire is for flag football, volleyball, or softball, adult athletes across Gwinnett County have a place to play and an experience waiting for them. Tony Ronco is a recently graduated college baseball player and Gwinnett native.

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Sports Gwinnett June 2013  

Sports Gwinnett Magazine covers sports and recreation, and the passionate people that participate in them. It's also a resource for active p...

Sports Gwinnett June 2013  

Sports Gwinnett Magazine covers sports and recreation, and the passionate people that participate in them. It's also a resource for active p...

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