Swing into spring sports
scott dell | submitted
Swing into spring sports at the Anna Maria Island
Community Center’s Benji Scanio Memorial
Stadium and Fred Hutchinson Field.
Spring has sprung and that means a change in the sports seasons and a transition from winter sports to spring sports at the Anna Maria Island Community Center. The Center’s Athletic Department drafted and formed 34 co-ed recreational sports teams last week.
Benji Scanio Memorial Stadium and Fred Hutchinson Field will be swinging again this year at the Center. The stadium was dedicated to Scanio in 1959 and the field was dedicated in 2008 to Hutchinson, who was a long time Major League Baseball manager.
Keeping up with the long tradition of baseball on the Island, the Center formed two Tee-ball teams and two coach-pitch teams this year. Boys and girls ages 5 to 10 will learn the finer points of our nation’s pastime and the emphasis will be on having fun.
In the youth co-ed basketball league, the Center formed 12 teams. Boys and girls ages 5 to 17 will participate in the recreational league. The five-to-seven-year-olds shoot on a seven-foot hoop while all other leagues shoot on a regulation size height.
In the adult co-ed leagues the Center formed six basketball teams that will play on Tuesday nights. They formed four kickball teams that will play on Wednesday nights, and they also formed eight soccer teams that will play on Thursday nights.
Center Athletic Director Matt Ray said, “I'm very excited about the spring season. We are offering five sports this spring, so it will be one of our busiest seasons. The league parity has been great. In the winter league playoffs, we pretty much had all lower seed underdogs win the championships and after doing the draft for the spring seasons, I expect the same. The leagues will be so balanced it will be anybody's game!”
Healthy food can taste great
As a TV reporter ages ago, I used to get paid the big bucks (ha) getting all sides to a story and doing the research it takes. So this volunteer column is the result of my week’s experiences and what I can write in two to three hours time. I always hope to inspire and prevent needless suffering of humans and animals that occurs way too often.
It is my belief that in our area, it would be a huge financial benefit if we had more vegan restaurants. Really vegan restaurants.
Like the exclusively vegan restaurant Ionie’s in Sarasota. My friend, Carl Lovejoy, is the amazing chef there. Check out restaurants’ Facebook pages or websites to see what they’re serving.
What I love are restaurants that aren’t afraid to say they are vegan in their name. Leafy Greens in St. Petersburg is an example. The first yelp review says, “Very fresh ingredients and the largest dehydrator I've ever seen combine for a menu that is very palatable even to non-vegans.
Highly recommend the chilled curry soup, spinach salad with berry dressing, Mediterranean pizza and The Real Deal.
Also, the vegan chocolate lava cake is the perfect balance of dates and cacao. This is the way things should be. Healthy food can taste great!”
My problem is that I’ve traveled the country on book tour, and my publisher and others have taken me to the best and outrageously, financially successful vegan restaurants. Karyn’s on Greens in Chicago, The Chicago Diner, Café Gratitude all over California, New York’s Candle 79, San Francisco’s Millenium, Philly’s Vedge are just a sampling of restaurants that are exclusively vegan and even boast it in their titles.
Guess what? All those cities have lots of people, I bet, who travel here and would love an exclusively vegan restaurant option. I for one, would be a regular. Even an exclusively vegetarian restaurant on the Island would be awesome.
Speaking of food, the deadline is approaching to register for my noon Taste of Vegan cooking classes at the Anna Maria Island Community Center on all Thursdays in February. Fresh Market has donated the food. To whet your appetite, here’s what I’ll be demonstrating, and what you get to eat:
Feb. 6: Eating/Staying Fit on $4/Day – Thai no-fry spring rolls, braised collards, stone-broke soup;
Feb. 13: Getting Enough Protein on Just Plants – garbanzo bean salad, tempeh broccoli saute, breakfast scramble;
Feb. 20: Sumptious Salads – easy bean salad, community garden salad, tropical salad;
Feb. 27: Delectable Desserts – chocolate mousse, coconut ice cream, heavenly Island smoothies.
We had a small, but mighty, turnout to brave the cool temps at my free Manatee Public Beach hour-long, mini-workout last week. I start with warm-ups that have kept me injury free, then a walk and or run, depending on group interests, and cool down stretches. Feel free to join us every Monday at 9 a.m. at the Manatee Public Beach playground.
All abilities are welcome. I separate the group if needed. We’re always there as long as the temperature is 50 degrees or warmer. If it’s windy, bring a windbreaker and a towel and water. And I promise never to mention the “v” (vegan) word unless you ask.
I placed first in my age group at the Bradenton YMCA 5K this weekend – the 63rd time placing in a race since 2006. I thought it would be a gentle cross-country course on the county fairgrounds. Instead, it wound through the actual fair itself – heavy lighter fluid, BBQ smoke, people smoking and a fuel truck that blocked the narrow path at one point. But I got to hold my trophy by the Beef-It’s What’s For Dinner sign.
I’ll be attempting the marathon in Celebration next weekend. I’ve been spending way too much time in the chair writing. Sitting is the new smoking you know.
You can follow Island resident Ellen Jaffe Jones on her Facebook page and keep up with her just released book:,"Eat Vegan on $4 a Day," or her website: www.vegcoach.com. She is also a nationally certified personal trainer and running coach. For training in a gym or private hire, contact Ellen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 941-704-1025.