DALLAS — It seems like a distant memory for Dallas Recreation Coordinator David Brautigam.
Yet, it was just four years ago that Dallas didn’t have any adult recreation to speak of.
Oh, how things have changed.
Men’s basketball and co-ed softball recently kicked off their seasons, and both have seen all-time highs in participation.
“Co-ed softball went from 10 to 14 teams this year,” Brautigam said. “Men’s basketball has increased to 12 teams (from 10) and has doubled the amount of teams when it first started.”
The city also offers co-ed volleyball, pickleball and more throughout the year.
“It’s a balancing act of not spreading ourselves too thin,” Brautigam said. “That’s been my focus is to establish it and make sure it’s running properly and we get participation. Then, we can start looking at other things that people want to see.”
Now, the city is doing just that. Dallas will hold its first-ever tennis tournament Aug. 8-9. A corn hole/bean bag toss tournament will be one of the festivities during Summerfest, and dodgeball and kickball tournaments are also in the works.
“A lot of people want these kinds of programs,” Brautigam said. “There are a lot of little things we want to do to fill in the gaps. I think we’re trying to capture a large variety of people in a large variety of sports.”
Brautigam also hopes to have a Halloween fun run this fall and hopes to bring more running events to the city in the future, as well as looking into starting a weekly walking club.
“We have people going out of town to go to running events,” Brautigam said. “We can do a lot of those running events here. We’ve formed a committee to start looking at next summer to have those kinds of events.”
This fall will also see the start of intramural sports for ages 12 to 18.
Plans to expand offerings is a result of feedback and increasing participation numbers among both kids and adults as Dallas’ recreation programs grow at rates exceeding Brautigam’s expectations.
But the number of participants is a secondary concern. The main thing is that there continues to be a desire for adult recreation programs, and that the city is there to help meet those desires.
“As long as the interest increases, that’s the direction we want to go,” Brautigam said. “Whether that is 100 teams or 50 teams, as long as kids and adults are participating, that’s our mission.”
As Dallas looks to continue to diversify its offerings for both adults and children going forward, Perhaps most importantly, he’s seeing more and more people taking part in living a healthier lifestyle.
“It’s an opportunity to serve people and keep our community active,” Brautigam said. “That’s really what we want to do.”