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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • CITY TALK: Ber Juan Sportsplex more than field of dreams

  • If you play sports, know someone who plays sports, or you are an avid softball or baseball fan, you have probably either played in or attended a softball or baseball game at the Ber Juan Sportsplex located in Ber Juan Park in Rolla.
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  • If you play sports, know someone who plays sports, or you are an avid softball or baseball fan, you have probably either played in or attended a softball or baseball game at the Ber Juan Sportsplex located in Ber Juan Park in Rolla.
    I mention the Ber Juan Sportsplex, which has gained state and national recognition through its many nationally sanctioned softball tournaments, not only to remind the public of the many prestigious and entertaining softball and baseball tournaments that will be hosted there throughout the next several months by the Parks and Recreation Department, but to also be aware that three of the fields have recently been renamed in honor of three of our community’s well known individuals.
    With many months of meetings, deliberation, and coordination by the Rolla Parks and Recreation Commission current Parks and Recreation Director Scott Caron and recently the Rolla City Council, North Field was renamed to Morgan Field in memory of two-term Rolla Mayor Joe Morgan. The South Field was renamed in honor of long-time Parks and Recreation Director Ken Kwantes and the soccer field renamed in memory of the well known Kittie Robertson, who for many years was the face of Ozark Actors Theatre (OAT) in Rolla.
    All of these individuals made a lasting impression during their service to our community in municipal government, parks and recreation, athletics and the arts – which covers many of the important bases in society. You might even say this combination of government service, sports/athletics and arts and culture is somewhat of a home run for the Rolla community. Without government services, our city and community would not run as efficiently as it does.
     
    Without sports, parks and recreation and athletics, our children and our residents wouldn’t have the recreational opportunities they need to stay healthy, fit, engaged and feeling good about themselves and life. Without arts and culture, our children and residents wouldn’t have access to theatre productions, musicals, concerts, symphonies or variety shows. That would simply be a tragedy.
    So, through the renaming of these well maintained, groomed fields by the Rolla City Council on April 15, 2013, the City Council not only paid tribute to three very deserving individuals who have made a difference in our community, they have recognized the significance and importance of municipal government, athletics and arts and culture.
    I think you might agree with me that there is also a lot of learning and life lessons that takes place in all of these arenas, so it isn’t unreasonable to say that education and learning is also a component of what these recognitions contribute to our community.
     
    That would pretty much make the renaming of these fields a grand slam. But now I’m starting to sound more like a commentator or sports announcer, and what I really want to do is bring to the attention of our residents what a difference these three individuals have made in the lives of so many people in our community.
    Page 2 of 2 - The next time you attend a softball or baseball tournament at the Ber Juan Sportsplex, take a minute to recognize the names of the signs at these various fields and realize that they tell the story of someone who has a passionate commitment to public service, parks and recreation/athletics and arts and culture!
     
    These signs may also remind us from time to time that it takes many different facets of our community working together, for the common good to provide the kind of community we want to see our children and grandchildren to grow up in.
    Have a safe weekend and a great week ahead!
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