Youth, adult sports leagues taking off at Bishop Park

By Martin Couch

Derek Phillips is the primary director of youth and adult sports leagues at Bishop Park in Bryant and he's been pleased with[more] the results of the turnout.

For the first time in a while, the park and recreation department of Bryant offered adult league flag football and 12 teams signed up to play on Sunday afternoons on the soccer fields. Now that the flag football season is nearly completed with the anticipation of the playoffs starting this weekend, Phillips and his staff have been working hard to make it go as smoothly as possible.

"It's been fun and I've really been pleased with it," he said.

Not only is there fun for the adults but Phillips has instituted a youth basketball league for kindergarten through second graders with several teams signing up. Games began last weekend at the Bishop Park Center and will continue through February.

"We have just one basketball program for the kids and we've got 58 who have signed up," Phillips said. "For a first-time program, I think it's pretty good."

Other objectives for Phillips is to start a youth and adult co-ed volleyball league that he saw gain success where he had worked before, Arkadelphia and Hot Springs.

"We had 13 to 15 girls volleyball teams in a league at the Hot Springs Boys and Girls Club, along with kids basketball and baseball," he said. "We had at one point 17 t-ball teams sign up. But here in Bryant there is the Bryant Athletic Association (baseball), a girl's softball association and a soccer association and we estimate around 700 kids for baseball, 400 for softball and around 400 for soccer. We do want to do volleyball and we have swimming opportunities. We'd like to see all of this grow in the next year or two."

The park also offers a competitive adult men's basketball league that has gained popularity among its participants.

"We had our first games a couple of weeks ago and it's a lot of fun," Phillips said. "We've had very few complaints and, personally, I've really enjoyed it."

For more information about the Bryant Parks and Recreation leagues, contact Phillips at Bishop Park or go by and watch a few of the games.

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