110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Rusty Hassell
For sports fans, the Sunshine State offers year-round sporting events, both for the athlete and the observer. No matter if you are just finding your skills or a few years beyond your prime, West Volusia offers several different avenues of athletic activity to keep you active.
Each city in West Volusia offers a Little League for your little ones to get acquainted with America’s favorite pastime. In DeLand, the Chipper Jones Little League Complex provides families with a safe and fun environment where children play and parents watch, from T-ball to the “majors.” Softball leagues are also available for girls of all ages. And, yes, Atlanta Braves’ all-star Chipper Jones, who lived in Pierson, did play in this same Little League as a youth.
Other sports, such as basketball, soccer, and flag and tackle football, are also offered in West Volusia, either through the Police Athletic League (PAL) or the local YMCA.
As the kids grow older, they move on to high school, which offers a whole new avenue for family entertainment. On Friday nights, the roar of the crowd can be heard all over Volusia County from high-school football games. West Volusia's high schools include DeLand, Deltona, Pine Ridge, Taylor and Trinity Academy, so you need never fall short in finding some high-school sports team to cheer on.
If college sports are more your passion, West Volusia provides that, as well. DeLand is home to NCAA Division 1, Stetson University Hatters. The Hatters are often in contention for Atlantic Sun Championships in both women’s and men’s basketball, as well as baseball and softball.
For those of you who are a “few” years beyond your college days, several recreation leagues in West Volusia let you compete and play like you are a kid again.
DeLand and Orange City both offer men’s and co-ed softball leagues. Whether you want to play with a church team or in a highly competitive business league, Sperling Sports Complex in DeLand or Pfc. Emory L. Bennett Park in Orange City will meet your needs.
Or, if you want to just go see a bunch of old guys try to make SportsCenter’s top plays, you might want to go out and get a good laugh.
Around West Volusia, you can find other clubs and organizations that offer many other forms of athletics. Watch The Beacon for announcements of golf tournaments and 5K runs that offer entire families recreation as well as a chance to help raise money for a good cause.
Earl Brown Park, in DeLand, provides facilities for a number of activities, from shuffleboard to tennis, and even a fenced-in skate park.
And the greatest part about all this is, The DeLand-Deltona Beacon covers all of them! From barrel-racing to the latest shuffleboard scores, from Little League to Stetson and beyond, the sports section of The Beacon keeps all of West Volusia up-to-date.
Some people have even lived in the DeLand area long enough to find their names in the sports section as youths, and then again as grown-ups, just out having some fun playing softball.
So no matter the age or the skill level, and whether it’s summer or winter, there is something for every athlete in West Volusia.
Rusty Hassell has grown up playing sports in DeLand since he moved here when he was 9 years old. He played in the DeLand Little League and the PAL basketball league, and even took a golf class at the DeLand Family YMCA. He played college basketball at Florida Christian College and now plays softball at Sperling Sports Complex.
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