Good Sports: Calwa Park Cal Ripken League

On a recent drive through the Calwa neighborhood of south Fresno, Cardoza Tucker thought about childhood experience at the community park.
January 17, 2014 5:48:09 PM PST
On a recent drive through the Calwa neighborhood of south Fresno, Cardoza Tucker thought about childhood experience at the community park.

"I just thought it would be kind of cool to bring back this area because I have family here and I kind of grew up in this area a little bit," said Tucker.

And now a professional player, Tucker is starting up the Calwa Park Cal Ripken baseball league. The athletic history of the area is rich, dating as far back as 1959, and Tucker sees no reason it can't make a comeback.

"It's an area that just kind of got forgotten about," said Tucker. "So I want to come back and bring back having the kids and the family atmosphere here at Calwa."

Calwa Park needs a lot of work to get it up to playing condition. Upgrading the playing surface, dugouts and light structures are just a few of the tasks at hand to turn the park into a place ball players can call home.

Anyone wondering if a project like this can be done needs only to look at what Tucker has accomplished at Al Radka Park in Fresno. His SJV Spartans travel team practice there four times per week.

Jeanette Affolter is a local strength and conditioning coach brought in by Tucker to whip the Spartans into shape. She will also work with the Calwa Park Cal Ripken league.

"I know right now when I coach the kids sometimes they say they don't want to do an exercise because it's boring or it hurts," said Affolter. "But they'll learn soon that it's actually really benefitting them."

"There's not a lot of physical activity out there these days for the kids," said Tucker. "It's mostly video games and things of that nature. So we try to promote good health and nutrition."

The nutritional and exercise tips are a luxury for the next generation of baseball stars.

"This can introduce being active again to a lot of kids, really enjoying exercise and healthy living," said Affolter.

So too is Fresno's newest Cal Ripken league, with signups right around the corner.

Parents interested in signing up their little slugger from tee ball all the way to 12-year-old majors division can head to Calwa Park on Saturdays starting tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. For more information click here.


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