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San Angelo Standard-Times (Texas)
SAN ANGELO - We work so you can play - this has been my career.
As a young airman in the U.S. Air Force back in the early 1990's, I was given the chance to work in the fitness center at Whiteman Air Force Base in the "Show-Me State" of Missouri, my first duty station. I was excited to be working in this capacity; honestly, I had no idea such positions even existed in the Air Force until I was given the opportunity.
It did not take long for me to get immersed in the job. I was assigned as an assistant sports director to learn how to handle and run sporting programs - something that was right up my alley. I loved playing, watching, talking about - everything to do with - sports.
I was a happy airman.
After a few months, I was sent to Aviano Air Base, a NATO facility in Italy, to work in a fitness center for deployed airmen in support of Operation Deny Flight. This was an experience. The people, the country, the food - oh, yeah - the food. I loved Italy.
As a young man serving deployed military members, I quickly learned it was my duty to keep people active after long work hours, usually a minimum of 12 hours per day. Most of these people would need something to get their minds and body relaxed after a long day of work, and not all of them wanted to play sports.
It was at this point in my life I learned recreation is not just about sports. Recreation is any activity people engage in during their free time. It just needs to be something they would enjoy, something to help them relax. The activity is less important than the reason for performing it.
A huge event that brought in many participants was bingo. We would plan it out, advertise it, try to get prizes donated. Bingo normally took place on Friday evenings, and it was a big deal at deployed locations.
It's funny how life works out. People at deployed locations loved bingo and would not miss it for the world. Now I oversee the Santa Fe Crossing and Station 618 senior centers, and trust me, our senior participants do not like to miss bingo on Mondays and Fridays. We have a great time when the seniors show up to play, just as we had a great time when we would host bingo at deployed locations back in the day.
Recreation is any refreshment of the mind, body or spirit through play and relaxation.
And it's important. It provides people with a better quality of life. Relaxing the mind and body is something we all need to take part in as often as we can. Activities done for enjoyment are something that makes life worth living.
I like to find new things for my family to do. We enjoy exploring and trying new things together. Our recreation doesn't involve sports nearly as much as in my younger life.
Don't get me wrong - we still have sports in our lives at the Casey household, both at work and at home. I hope to teach my kids how to handle life better through sports and the situations you encounter participating in them.
I know sports are a huge part of the person I am today. I was not and am not a professional athlete, but the lessons learned over the years have made me who I am, and many of these lessons stem from sports.
As mentioned earlier, I've learned recreation is not just about sports, and that all types of recreation are important.
So, my challenge to you is, get out there and recreate. Find that activity that refreshes your mind, body or spirit through play and/or relaxation. Find an activity you can do with your loved ones or friends, something that will build memories and enhance your quality of life.
By the time you read this, the NCAA basketball tournament will be over. (My teams were out before it even got started this year.) With college hoops done, everyone should have plenty of time to get outdoors and try new forms of recreation. If you get out and accomplish some form of recreation it will improve your well-being and will make you feel better.
If you need help finding things to do while you recreate, come by our office at 702 S. Chadbourne St. We have many things going on throughout the year for all ages and experience levels - opportunities to try new things. The City's Recreation program has great offerings and we are working to grow our programs at all times.
Learn more by visiting our webpage at cosatx.us/recreation, come see us, or get out there on your own. We don't care how you recreate, as long as you recreate.
Brent Casey is the recreation manager for the City of San Angelo. Contact him at [email protected] or 325-657-4450.
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