Column: The land of opportunities, in sports

Published 11:36 am Monday, January 23, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

If you were to ask someone what kind of sports rural towns have in the south, most people would name a few of the common sports. Football, of course, baseball, basketball, and maybe a few say soccer or track & field. For me, it would have been the same answer before I started at The Clanton Advertiser last February.

However, here in Chilton County that is far from the case. The stigma that the only sports smaller towns play are the most common ones is debunked right when you step foot into the county. Yes, there is a deep baseball tradition here that dates back before The Great Depression, but there has been so much growth in the last 5-10 years that has introduced, so many other sports into the community.

Disc golf has grown exponentially since I started almost a year ago, and I know it has grown before then as well. The city of Clanton welcomed the introduction of the sport into the community with open arms helping provide funding for the course at Clanton City Park that is open to everyone who would like to try their hand at it. Local businesses such as Clanton Outdoors have picked up on the growing disc golf community and now offer gear for those getting into disc golf.

If someone wanted to go play regular golf, the Clanton Country Club is just a short drive to hit the links, too.

Mixed martial arts are another sport I have seen grow in the community as well over the last 11 months. The YMCA of Chilton County and Impact Martial Arts have provided the youth in Chilton County early access into the world of MMA if they are interested. That, to me, is the biggest thing because it gets the kids started at a young age, so if they are interested in becoming immersed into the sport, they already have a solid base knowledge of it.

NXG Combat Sports in Clanton provides the next step up for those children involved with Impact, or any adult in the community that wants to try their hand at a new sport. NXG offers kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that both take no prior experience to get involved in.

Local high schools provide the traditional sports while also having a few unique teams students are able to join such as the fishing teams. I have really enjoyed seeing the sporting opportunities in Chilton County outside of the traditional sports, and it seems like more sports will begin to penetrate the county lines and peak the community’s interests.