Sports column: Sports complex opened just in time for rainy year

Published 7:55 am Friday, February 14, 2020

The timing of life can be an amazing thing to ponder. A split-second’s hesitation can save us from a traffic accident. Jumping on an opportunity at precisely the right time can launch a career. One door closes, another opens, and vice versa.

When Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi finally opened a year ago, after 20 years of frustrating starts and stops, it was a case of perfect timing.

The new sports complex has become a safe haven for a number of area high school and college teams during a winter filled with bad weather and obstacles.

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Alcorn State’s softball team played Kentucky State on Thursday, and will host a six-team, 15-game tournament at Sports Force Parks beginning at 1 p.m. Friday.

Also on Friday, Hinds Community College will play its baseball season opener at Sports Force Parks. The Eagles will play a split doubleheader against Frontier Community College at noon, and Mississippi Delta at 6 p.m. The games were moved to Vicksburg because of heavy rain across Mississippi this week that left Hinds’ home field in Raymond inundated.

On Saturday, Warren Central and Vicksburg High will play a fast-pitch softball preseason jamboree at SFP beginning at 10 a.m. Those games were originally scheduled to be played at Lake and Clinton High Schools, but also moved because of bad weather.

Warren County’s high school baseball and softball teams will be frequent users of Sports Force Parks this spring. Wet weather in January and February, as well as other delays, have stalled renovations to their various home fields. Even if work is done in March, other construction will make access difficult and is likely to force Warren Central’s softball team to play most of its games at SFP this spring.

Two years ago, the confluence of bad weather and delayed construction would have been an unmitigated disaster for our local teams. They would have had to go out of town to practice and play, or figure out some way to share the few available fields scattered around town.

Instead, with Sports Force Parks available, the difficulties they face rise only to the level of inconveniences — annoying to deal with, yes, but still a problem they can work around and solve.

Sports Force Parks will be a beehive of activity this weekend. Go out and check out some games if you have a chance, and support all of our local teams and players. While you’re there, take a second to appreciate the perfect timing it took to get them all in one place at the same time.

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 reporters in the paper's 139-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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