As published in the Grand Island Independent on 11/3/21.
In a previous editorial, we highlighted how programs at the sports complex will boost the local economy. I would like to talk about Central Nebraska’s current lack of training opportunities for young athletes. Yes, let’s open that wound.
When I played baseball in early 80’s, I can think of at least five Grand Island athletes who went on to play in the MLB or NFL, including myself and John Parrella. At that time, we were on an even playing field with metro area athletes – there were no traveling teams, special training camps or fancy facilities. At some point, that all changed. Omaha and Lincoln started building indoor sporting facilities with better technology, instruction and opportunities for their athletes – and as a result, continued producing top-notch athletes. In the meantime, we have continually struggled to get anyone to the professional level.
While Grand Island has produced some outstanding baseball players since the 1980s, I was the last one – nearly 40 years ago – to make it to the major leagues. John Parrella was the last one to make it to the NFL not long after me. We have waited too long to even the playing field in Nebraska. We have to do better.
We are building the Central Nebraska Sports Complex to increase capacity in our local young athletes to complete at higher and higher levels. Our youth athletes need a modern facility with advanced instruction, technology and support so our schools can be more competitive. In addition, through our nonprofit mission of serving underrepresented youth athletes, the sports complex will also expand the number of youth athletes playing sports. This will have the effect of finding those great local athletes in our community who would normally never have had the opportunity to play competitive and traveling sports.
The time to build the Central Nebraska Sports Complex is now. It’s good for our children, it’s good for our businesses, and it’s good for our schools. This complex will benefit our community in a myriad of ways we probably haven’t even thought of yet. We ask you to be a part of our mission to help Central Nebraska youth athletes reach their highest potential.
The Central Nebraska Sports Complex Fund’s web page is hosted on the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation’s website.
You can also navigate to the CNSC’s website and learn all about the benefits the complex will have for the Central Nebraska region: pinnaclebanksportscomplex.org. I hope you take a moment and invest in our community today.