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Worley is now trying to attract basketball and flag football leagues to the park.

“We’d like to see the basketball courts utilized more,” he said.

“I’m sure in the day there were leagues, but it’s been a while,” he said.

There haven’t been organized leagues to use the courts in recent memory, according to Worley.

Story Highlights

  • The facility at 1700 Forest Drive already hosts soccer, softball, baseball, tackle football, cheerleading, Frisbee, and kickball games and practices, said Woody Worley, the city’s Parks and Recreation director.

  • The park has two full-sized basketball courts that are currently only being used occasionally by individuals or small makeshift groups, he said.

Worley said he is talking with basketball leagues to come to the park but would also welcome county residents who want to form a new league from scratch.

Typically, a league using a park field is limited in that it might have access to that field for only a few months a year. Worley said he hopes to attract existing leagues by offering them the use of the park’s fields the rest of the year.      

“We’re always looking for organizations and leagues to come and utilize the facility,” he said. Anyone interested in using the basketball courts or flag football fields can contact Worley at 352-726-3913.

Worley is also looking to attract flag football to the park. Flag football is a version of American football where the defensive team must remove a flag or flag belt from the ball carrier to end a down. Tackling or contact is not permitted

“I definitely think there’s a need for flag football,” he said. Worley told the Chronicle that he’s made it a priority to utilize the park to the fullest.

Whispering Pines has the fields and infrastructure to accommodate more teams and leagues, he said. Part of the solution is marketing.

The goal isn’t to attract leagues already using other parks outside the city, but to offer them additional locations to play and practice, Worley said. “It was just never a priority to reach out and attract … sports,” he said.