Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mission Creek Sports Park - Sports

Saturday saw the Grand Opening of the visionary Mission Creek Sports Park beneath the freeway at Mission Bay...see previous blogs....

One of the outstanding achievements of the sports park is to have the only beach volleyball court in San Francisco.

It sits at the end of the creek and, like the basketball court opposite, is under cover of the freeway and sheltered from the weather.

Little could the designers have known when they conceived their plans that Misty May and Kerri Walsh would catapult the sport into the headlines by

winning their second Olympic gold medal.

The court has been ready for a few weeks and is already popular.

'I think it's wonderful they have this court available,' said Erin. 'This is the second time I've been here. It is a great environment and a nice resource.'

Erin and Cassie, both in their twenties and regular players, were sitting on the side at a picnic bench watching a match.

Cassie said that up to now they had been having to travel as far away as Santa Cruz to play so it was great to have a city court.

'Only we don't want it to be too popular!' quipped Erin.

Since Cassie discovered the park, she has been organizing games of both five or six a side, and twos, she said.

Does she have any aspirations to be the next Misty May and Kerri Walsh?

She laughed, joking about her age of 25 years. 'I realise that if I'm not on that track by now, I never will be!' she said.

The basketball court across the path was full of people from early morning enjoying practicing skills and playing games that were organized by volunteers.

'I think it's really great that they have all these volunteers to set something up for the community. It gives us a chance to meet our neighbours,' said Ada.

Later in the day some were trying out the new fenced-in tennis courts on the other side of the freeway.

Others took advantage of the bright sunshine and paddled up the creek in bright red and yellow kayaks past picturesque houseboats.

The craft are stored in an artistically designed Kayak House alongside the creek that is especially eye-catching at night. Styled as a hull of a historic wooden ship with a translucent blue skin, it is lit at night and shines like a beacon down the path.

More a lighthouse than a Kayak House!

A plaque on the side describes it as 'a small dramatic structure that adds a whimsical sculptural element to the park's experience.' That it certainly is. It's designers are MK Think, an architectural and designer firm, and the kayaks are owned and run by UCSF Campus Life Services and are able to be hired by the public.

During the Grand Opening party, children had their own spot too. A long table had been set up near the volleyball and basket ball courts where they could sit and crayon and have their faces painted by Fairy Willow.

Dad Frank, sitting with one-year-old Kenton on his knee and four-year-old Kelly playing alongside, was very happy with the park.

'I like it here,' he said. 'This is good to meet people and know how to get community,' he said.

And if you didn't want to engage in sports, you could simply stroll around the beautiful gardens or sit by the side of the creek admiring the view and listening to the band, the aptly named Pollo del Mar.

pics show the volleyball court; Fairy Willow, Kenton (1), Frank, Kelly (4); basketball with Ada, in pink.

For more pics click here

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