Live Healthier, Happier and more Balanced Lives!
By Jon Vredenburg
There is an old adage about sports that states: It is not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. All across the First Coast, people are finding more ways to play the game and learning that adult sports leagues are a great way to be healthy, have fun and make friends.
Surveying the North Florida recreational sports landscape can be easily performed from a smart phone since social media has become the preferred method of communication for many leagues. Jacksonville Scene, a recreational and social organization, uses its online presence to advertise the opportunities they have to offer. The group was started nine years ago by Jason Ryan as a part-time venture but has now grown into a full-time occupation. Ryan manages operations for fifteen different types of sports across the region and is prideful of the cohesive nature that has helped fuel their growth.
“We are a community more than we are a sports league,” Ryan says.
The community is thriving with more than 6,000 followers on Facebook. As for demographics, the group is mostly young professionals with an equal amount of males and females participating.
The rise in popularity of Jacksonville Scene has enabled Ryan and his group to add different levels of competition within each sport. Many of the leagues, including basketball, flag football and beach volleyball, have three distinct levels of competition to provide an option for everyone. The opportunity to network is what brings many people into community athletics in the first place.
“It’s a great way to meet new people,” Ryan says. “The sports become more of a social gathering.”
That is easy to see from reviewing their expansive website at Jacksonvillescene.com. However, they are not the only game in town since JaxSport Adult Sports Leagues, jaxsport.com, and Florida First Coast Softball, ffcsoftball.com, coordinate leagues as well. In addition, single participants have no reason to fret. Many of the local leagues offer solo registration options to help you find a group that would be a good fit for your skill set and interests.
The cost of participating in adult sports leagues varies but usually runs about $50 per-person, per-season. Most of the seasons in the team sports last about three months. So if you are ready to take the next step and get off of the couch, there are boundless opportunities awaiting you.
Here are three scrumptious meal ideas that will have your taste bites springing with delight.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
• 1/4 cup butter or margarine
• 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
• 9 slices pineapple in juice (from 14-oz can), drained
• 9 maraschino cherries without stems, if desired
• 1 1/3 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/3 cup shortening
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup milk
• 1 egg
1. Heat oven to 350°F. In 9-inch square pan, melt butter in oven. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over melted butter. Arrange pineapple slices over brown sugar. Place cherry in center of each pineapple slice.
2. In medium bowl, beat remaining ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour batter over pineapple and cherries.
3. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately place heatproof serving plate upside down over pan; turn plate and pan over. Leave pan over cake a few minutes so brown sugar mixture can drizzle over cake; remove pan. Serve warm. Store cake loosely covered.
Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Chinese Style Corn Salad
Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
• 3/4 cup melted butter
• 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
• 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
• 24 mini sandwich rolls
• 1 pound thinly sliced cooked deli ham
• 1 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
2. In a bowl, mix together butter, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds, and dried onion. Separate the tops from bottoms of the rolls, and place the bottom pieces into the prepared baking dish. Layer about half the ham onto the rolls. Arrange the Swiss cheese over the ham, and top with remaining ham slices in a layer. Place the tops of the rolls onto the sandwiches. Pour the mustard mixture evenly over the rolls.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until the rolls are lightly browned and the cheese has melted, about 20 minutes. Slice into individual rolls through the ham and cheese layers to serve.
Chinese-Style Corn Salad
By Nina Simonds
• 3 cups fresh cooked corn kernels, cut from the cob while warm
• 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
• 1 1/2 tablespoons clear rice vinegar
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons minced scallion greens
1. Toss kernels with sesame oil, rice vinegar, salt and pepper. Season to taste, adding more vinegar or salt and pepper as necessary. Once corn is cool, add minced scallions. Toss lightly and chill briefly before serving.
Thai Chicken Curry Wraps
• 1/4 cup mayonnaise
• 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
• 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, cubed (I used a rotisserie chicken)
• 1/3 cup pineapple, dices
• 1/4 cup red onion, minced
• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (or cilantro)
• 1/4 cup slivered almonds
• 2 tablespoons minced ginger
• 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
• 2 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach
• 4 flavored burrito-size (10-12”) flour tortillas, such as tomato or spinach
• Cooking spray
• Combine mayo, yogurt, honey and lime juice in a bowl. Fold in the chicken, pineapple, onion, and parsley. Set aside.
• In a large skillet, over medium heat, sauté almonds in 1 tablespoon of oil until golden, stirring often so they don’t burn, about 1 minute. Add the ginger and curry paste; cooking for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat and fold into the chicken mixture.
• Wipe out skillet and return to the burner over low heat; warm tortillas until pliable. Place 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture on each tortilla, then roll to enclose, folding in the sides like a burrito.
• Coat skillet with cooking spray and toast wraps over medium-high heat until golden on both sides, about 30-45 seconds per side. Cut in half and serve warm.
By Paula Huffingham-Suhey
The long, wet, dreary winter that Northeast Florida has endured is finally over. We are welcoming the bright sunshine of spring. And now we can see the clutter that has found its way into our homes.
And it’s time to put away some of those things that are making our homes (and our lives) a mess.
It’s time to declutter. Lest you think this task too daunting, here are some steps that should help.
1) Plan your work and work your plan. Knowing what you need to do and when you can do it is half the battle.
2) Schedule a pick up: Vietnam Vets, Goodwill, Lutheran Social Services – “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”
3) Do you need more storage space or containers? Measuring the space you have available before you make a purchase will save time.
4) Enlist the help of family or a friend. The company of another person will be helpful, coupled with the fact that another viewpoint will help you decide what to toss and what to save.
5) When you make your shopping list, include a box of disposable gloves, a bottle of spray cleanser and another bottle for bleach. (You will be amazed what spraying a little bleach on that mildewed area will do.)
6) For each room, have an extra box that will be a “holding area” for things that belong in another room: the extra sock, earring back, or ink pen that have found their way under a bed or chair.
7) Don’t try to do it all at once. Take time to enjoy what you are doing…don’t be so task oriented that you miss the fact that the sun is finally shining.
Photo courtest freedigitalphotos.net