A dozen sports management students from Obirin University in Tokyo spent much of Friday learning about the impact of sports tourism and management during a one trip visit to Rome.
The unique partnership between the Rome Tennis Center and Berry College, which created a sports administration program at Berry, was part of the focus for the students Friday afternoon. Berry News Director Chris Kozelle said the college now has 24 students pursuing a major in sports administration.
The delegation met with officials at Berry where they toured the Cage Center, then moved over to the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College and ended the day with a visit to State Mutual Stadium where they took in a Rome Braves baseball game.
Translator Yuzuru Yamazaki said that professional sports is becoming a much larger industry in Japan. He said baseball has long been a big sport, followed by soccer and professional basketball is just beginning to get big.
"We are going to host the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, so that's why more people are starting to learn," Yamazaki said.
Professor Yasushi Shimojima, who is leading the delegation, said the students' visit to Rome was really focused on sports tourism.
The students were spoken to about the travel involved and the fan following that is generated at the collegiate level during their tour of The Cage Center. Over at the Rome Tennis Center, they learned more about sports-related tourism, from the perspective of a facility that draws national and even international events.
Through translator Yamazaki, Shuuya Satou said he hoped to use his degree to get a marketing job with a sporting goods manufacturer in Japan.
The week-long visit, facilitated by the Japan-America Society of Georgia, also included stop at Georgia Tech, CNN and the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
The students are in Georgia for a full week and will be visiting other sites including SunTrust Park in Atlanta, Cool Ray Stadium, home of the Gwinnett Stripers, the Atlanta Motor Speedway and a number of other venues.
The early phases of construction are underway for a large, outdoor weather shade at the Public Animal Welfare Services shelter at 99 North Ave.
The shade will provide cover for dogs when they are in one of two outdoor cages used while the indoor cages are being cleaned and for interaction when potential adoptive families visit the shelter.
Victoria Helms, who works at the front desk at PAWS, credited Rome City Commissioner Allison Watters with initiating construction through her volunteer animal advocacy.
"The project was called Shade for the Shelter," Helms said. Construction is being financed by Claws for Paws, a local not for profit organization that fundraises to aid local animal rescue professionals.
"Claws for Paws hosted an event in June called Rome for the Rescues," said Waters. "We had a sponsorship option and those who gave $1,500 or more will be featured on a plaque that will be put up after construction is finished."
Watters helped initiate the project in her role as an animal advocate in Rome and Floyd County, but said that her position as a commissioner helped facilitate the process.
"We spoke with the warden (Michael Long) at the prison about using inmate labor in construction. So the project is a great example of private-public partnership, and that's what we're all about," Watters said. "Claws for Paws have been a longtime partner of PAWS. At the old shelter we paid for air conditioning in the puppy room. We just want to make sure they have the best resources to do the best job they can. We're doing positive things at PAWS and we're going continue to see positive things."
According to Animal Control Officer Matt Cordle, the shade will be about 10 feet tall in the front and 8 feet in the rear so as to provide a slope to spill rainwater. He estimated the length of the shade as 42 feet and the width as 22 feet. The steel for the project has already been ordered and construction should be quick after its arrival. Anchor bolts have been installed and cement has been poured for the bases of the shade.
For more information on PAWS call 706-236-4537. Readers can learn more about Claw for Paws at clawsforpaws.org.
Kids who've been practicing with Hannah Nabors, the assistant cross country coach at Rome High School, get to see the results of the hard work they've been putting in after school this morning.
The students from the four schools in the Rome City Schools Running Club — West Central, North Heights, East Central and West End elementary schools — have their first race this morning at Ridge Ferry Park.
Each club member participates in a minimum of three races and the club currently has over 130 student members across the four schools.
"We started this because we wanted our kids to have something physically active to do after school," Nabors said. "As cross country coaches we wanted to share our love for cooperative and competitive running. As our kids move into middle school and high school, this club gives them the exposure and experience to start the sport of competitive running."
They practice once or twice a week from 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. through October.
Teachers have used the club to bond with students and as an incentive to help students maintain their studies and proper school behavior. Students aren't permitted to participate if they've been given detention or suspended.
"When preparing for these races we start off with a few simple games that are fun. We play sharks and minnows, relay races, red light green light ... really just getting them running. After that, each school develops a little route," Nabors said. "At East Central we have a course around certain buildings that is the equivalent to a quarter mile. We have students who will sprint, jog and walk. We practice that distance regularly at the pace the students are comfortable with," she said.
Throughout the year the students are training with their coaches and they are introduced to stretching, dynamic warm-ups and proper running form. Each race is timed and they are encouraged to improve, but the main goal is inject fun into exercise.
"I could not do it without the fabulous teacher-coaches Ashleigh Vaughn, Erin Rhoades and Carrie Nobles," she said.
The RCR Club covers the cost of the first race for their students. There is a fee to run in each additional race. Last year there were a number of sponsors who helped with race fees, and they're looking for sponsors for this year.
Experts told Michael Goodroe and his parents that school was never going to be an option for him.
The autistic 31-year-old from Atlanta, whose mother Joan Haigwood Goodroe graduated from Coosa High School, told members of the Exchange Club that his parents refused to believe that he had no future.
He proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that impossible dream was not impossible at all.
The young man said his battle with autism "birthed a fighting spirit into me" and he ultimately went on to earn his BA in history from the University of West Georgia and an MBA from Reinhardt University. He works full time today as a data entry processor.
Goodroe authored "What Autism Gave Me" in an effort to provide hope to others who face serious challenges, not limited to autism. The book is available from a variety of online resources.
When he was first diagnosed, Goodroe compared his brain to a honeybee hive without a queen.
"Buzzing around without any sense of direction or purpose," Goodroe said. "The goal was to get my brain working like a kaleidoscope, to know that all the pieces were working together — that it was all synchronized."
The family chose to work on three areas to get him going in the right direction. First was his motor functions. "I couldn't walk straight. I couldn't swing. I had absolutely no sense of balance," Goodroe said.
He enrolled in karate classes which helped overcome that obstacle. This summer, 25 years after he started, Goodroe received his third-degree black belt in karate.
The second focus was to improve his auditory skills and the third was his communication skills.
"My life is pretty much the tortoise and the hare. I was always moving slower than everybody else, but like the tortoise I never stopped and because of that my strengths started to emerge," he said. "I gained a sense of persistence. I learned that if you never give up you can achieve anything. I was taught to be goal-directed, you had to know what you want before you could get it."
Along the way, Goodroe and his family learned that attitude was a better measure of success than an IQ score. He was trained in classical music and that was his ticket to admission to college.
"Against everything that people told me, I made it in life," he said.
Today's artwork is by Isabella Newman, a second-grader at Unity Christian School.
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