Our View: The boys, and girls, of summer

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An Alexandria baserunner slides to avoid the tag against the DC Grays, in the Aces' June 4 season opener. The Aces would lose that game 10-6, and currently sit at the bottom of Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League standings at 0-6. (Courtesy Mark Briscoe.)
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T.C. Williams High School and Alexandria’s private high schools have held their graduation ceremonies. The Alexandria Aces are in the middle of their Cal Ripken League baseball season. Another city Little League team is vying for a state title. Independence Day is next week and the city’s birthday celebration the week after.

Although the summer solstice was just last week, summer is definitely already in full swing.

The advent of summer is an opportunity to consider how blessed we are to have so many recreational choices in Alexandria. Some are courtesy of geography, but others are the result of living in a city that has long prioritized open space, parks and organized sports.

Geography affords us the opportunity to hold events along the shoreline of the Potomac River – gatherings that instantly become more festive because of the water’s proximity. We have the ability to enjoy the river for exercise in kayaks and canoes and for sheer fun in sailboats and motorboats and, soon, the tall ship Providence. The very brave can even swim or tube in the murky water.

(Alexandria Aces launch new season with tough stretch)

Our location means Alexandria bicyclists can hop on a bike path and ride down to Mount Vernon or up to Theodore Roosevelt Island. We are also a short drive from the many attractions that encompass our nation’s capital city, many of which, like the National Mall, National Arboretum or the Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral, are best used in summer.

The City of Alexandria also maintains more than 900 acres of parks and open space, according to the city’s website. This number appears to include schools, and thus space that’s not open to the general public year-round, but there are plenty of parks large and small in Alexandria that are always accessible.

Most people are familiar with Jones Point and Fort Ward parks, the city’s largest. Fewer know about the “tot lot” on Royal Street in Old Town or Hooff’s Run Park and Greenway. The Times is running occasional features on Alexandria’s parks, in an attempt to raise awareness about some of these hidden treasures.

(The evolution of Windmill Hill Park)

While we collectively can always do better, we think the City of Alexandria has long done a good job of prioritizing open space and parkland. This long-standing commitment should not become a casualty of the current, short-sighted drive to over-develop our city.

Many organized summertime recreational options also exist. There is, of course, Little League Baseball, which works with, but is not run by, the city. Alexandria Little League is affiliated with Little League Baseball, Inc., the entity that hosts the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania each summer.

Our city’s 13U Little League team won the District 4 championship last weekend, and will vie for the state championship in mid-July. The league is operating a Go Fund Me page to help defray the cost of participating in the state tournament. For more information, see alexandriabaseball.com.

Residents might be surprised to learn there are several other youth sports offerings during the summer, including the Alexandria Rugby Club, a teen basketball club, the Titans Track Club, the Wahoos swim team, field hockey and Lil’ Pro Sports, according to the city’s website.

And there are the city swimming pools, including the Rixse indoor pool at the Chinquapin Recreation Center, Memorial Pool at the Charles Houston Rec Center, the Old Town Pool at 1609 Cameron St., Warwick Pool at 3301 Landover St., The Potomac Yard Park interactive fountain at 2501 Potomac Ave. and Cameron Run Regional Park at 4001 Eisenhower Ave.

That’s a lot of summer recreational options. TR himself would be proud.

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