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Plant City Observer Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 10 months ago

Athletics after dark: YMCA brings late-night sports to Plant City

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The Plant City Family YMCA is gauging community interest in Friday night events.
by: Justin Kline Sports/Associate Editor

Ray Segura and the Plant City Family YMCA wasted no time making new events for the new year. The first big project of 2018 for Segura, the Plant City Y’s sports director, gives kids and adults a new option for Friday nights.

Why not make a healthy choice and spend that time playing sports?

“Midnight” sports events, which have been implemented at other YMCA locations, are now in Plant City for at least the next two Fridays. From 9:30 p.m. to 12 a.m., members and non-members can play futsal, or indoor soccer, and basketball at the Plant City Family YMCA, 1507 YMCA Place. If the community response is strong enough, Segura said he would like to make such events permanent fixtures on the Y’s schedule.

“We’re excited about the midnight sports,” Segura said. “It’s something we want to offer moving forward, monthly. I want to pretty much cover every Friday of every month with something.“

Segura said he hopes the events can help keep kids out of trouble and give adults a healthy Friday night activity. Kids age 12 to 17 have gotten to play basketball, which will be offered again on Jan. 26, and people age 15 and up will get to play futsal tonight.

“15 to 99, if you still can run around and shoot some balls,” Segura said.

Last week, 25 kids participated in the inaugural basketball event and played half and full-court hoops on the Y’s newly renovated court floor.

If Segura believes the community’s response is strong enough to make midnight sports a recurring weekly event, a decision that will be made after the Jan. 26 basketball night, more sports will be offered. He said adding volleyball to the slate would be a top priority, then perhaps dodgeball. He also hopes to form a partnership with a local business or entity in Plant City to help sponsor future events.

“We’re looking to partner with someone in the community to do different things for these kids and these adults,” Segura said.

Though the Y is limited with its late-night offerings — some sports simply can’t be played on a basketball court — Segura is hoping to hear any ideas Plant City has for future offerings.

“We’re feeling out some ideas, just feeling the community out,” he said. “More community response would be awesome moving forward. What the community wants is what we’re going to give them in sports.”

Justin Kline is the Sports/Associate Editor at the Plant City Observer. He has been covering all things sports-related in the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World since 2013.

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