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‘New’ Governor’s Cup is also a new beginning

For more than 20 years, the Governor’s Cup was a staple event on Vicksburg’s summer sports schedule. At its peak, the youth baseball tournament at Halls Ferry Park spanned two weekends in late July and early August, brought more than 100 teams to town, and was the de facto end point of one segment of the calendar.

Sadly, the Governor’s Cup faded away. A move to the fall didn’t pan out, and for the past few years if it existed at all it seemed to be a closely guarded secret.

This weekend, the Governor’s Cup is making a comeback — albeit in a different form.

The tournament will be played at the city’s new sports complex, rather than Halls Ferry Park. Instead of a unique and major event, it will be more the “tournament of the week” at Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi, one of several dozen the facility will host this year.

On one level, that’s sad. Seeing any institution crumble always evokes feelings of nostalgia. A generation of Vicksburg’s children played in the old Governor’s Cup and will not get to coach or take their own children to it the way it used to be.

On the other hand, this rebirth of the Governor’s Cup also symbolizes a fresh start and a new era. Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi is the future of youth and community sports in this town. Many of the city’s leagues have already started migrating out there. Other activities, such as adult softball and kickball leagues, are also being played there.

From a glance, the complex is doing what it was supposed to do by bringing tournaments and out-of-town teams to Vicksburg and boosting the economy. Beginning with the Governor’s Cup, SFPM will host a baseball tournament every week through the end of November.

The new complex also has, in an odd way, revitalized some of the other fields around town as they’re repurposed for other uses. Halls Ferry Park has become the home of the Vicksburg Girls Softball Association. A recent deal between the county and the Vicksburg Warren Athletic Association will clean up the old Culkin Complex to use as baseball practice fields. The City Park softball fields have become Vicksburg High’s temporary football practice fields while theirs are being renovated.

The old Governor’s Cup always represented the end of summer in Vicksburg. Let’s take a minute to appreciate what this new version symbolizes — the start of a new era.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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