“The problem with winter sports is that, follow me closely here, they generally take place in winter.”
— Dave Barry, humor columnist
Winter. It’s arguably the quietest time of the year for professional sports. Baseball has yet to thaw out for spring training, football is deflated, pun very much intended, and even basketball is currently on a (not so) all-star break. Though we’re not frozen out like most of the country, the local sports scene still suffers the same winter blues. Nonetheless here’s a quick roundup of what’s been shaking on and off the field this month.
Sports park gets the ax-Nard
Imagine, if you will, right in the heart of Oxnard, a nearly $20 million indoor sports center filled with volleyball, basketball and indoor soccer courts, not to mention smaller rooms for other sports, a place so big and state-of-the-art that it could host regional and national tournaments. It would easily be one of the largest facilities on the West Coast, bringing in thousands of visitors and providing an economic boost to restaurants and hotels. Well, don’t get too excited. The center, which was proposed by Young and Co. Inc., a company based out of Avila Beach, won’t be happening at the corner of Oxnard Boulevard and Gonzales Road as the City Council unanimously voted to deny the developer a lease on the 21-acre city-owned property. The property has been sited for a park or sports complex since the early ’90s but two decades later it still sits. Kind of a sad waste of space, if you ask us, but for the neighbors who spoke against it, peace and quiet will remain for now. Keep in mind that these same people live next to a high school and shopping center but, well, you know, indoor volleyball is noted for bringing out a dangerous element. Developers plan on looking for another site but we’re guessing it won’t be in Oxnard.
Foothill girls ball out
Remember last year when we discussed how Foothill Technology High School was entering the world of sports? Expectations were extremely low for any of its teams to do well in the inaugural year but big props to the girls’ basketball team, which is tied for first place in the Frontier Division. Coached by Jason Edgmond and led by juniors Becca Negrette and Haley Lowe, the team is doing well despite dealing with the bigger problem of essentially being homeless. That’s right; Foothill does not have a permanent gym, so the team has been forced to play home games at Ventura College, Buena High and even Cabrillo Middle School. In a city and county rich with women’s basketball history, the Dragons are already making their mark. Let’s hope these ladies soon have their own gym to hoist that first banner. Since half the team are freshmen there’s a good chance one is coming very soon.
The port of TV
We’ve written about the Oceanview Pavilion in Port Hueneme and how we’ve been impressed with its commitment to host tv telecasts of professional sporting events. The pro wrestling cards, which are held every other week and are free to attend, are hands down the most fun a family can have on a Sunday afternoon, especially with the NFL on hold. The next wrestling event takes place this Sunday, Feb. 22, and for more information on that visit, www.oceanviewinfo.com. The support of all things ring doesn’t stop with the squared circle though, as last month it hosted a nationally televised boxing card broadcast nationally on the Spanish language network UniMàs. A full house came out to support local fighters like Oxnard welterweight prospect Abraham Lopez, who fought a toe-to-toe war with Bilal Mahasin, ending in a controversial draw.
The fighting Garcia brothers
In attendance at the Oceanview Pavilion card was undefeated two-time champion Mikey Garcia. The youngest brother of the famed Garcia family and a 2006 graduate of Pacifica High School, the fighter has been on the shelf for the past year battling contractual issues with his promoter but Garcia assured Who’s on First that he’ll be back in the ring this spring, or summer at the latest. Speaking of the Garcia family, the middle brother, Robert, one of the boxing’s most famous trainers, was in the corner of Oxnard fighter and former champion Brandon Rios when he stopped Mike Alvarado in their highly anticipated rubber match in Colorado last month. Last but not least, the oldest brother of the bunch, Danny Garcia, who has been out of the spotlight in recent years, just announced this week that his fighter Andrew “Chango” Cancio has signed a contract with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. The hard working Cancio, who lives and trains in Ventura, is set to return to the ring in Los Angeles next month and the elder Garcia insists the brawling super featherweight has “the skills to bring another world title to the city of Ventura.”
Fusion welcomes the Cosmos
While the VC Fusion’s season hasn’t started, our favorite Ventura County-based sports team is having one of its famous exhibition matches against none other than Major League Soccer’s most famous team, the New York Cosmos. It’s taking place at the Ventura College Sports Complex on Wednesday, Feb. 25. These one-off games have, almost in secret, brought some of the biggest soccer clubs in the world to Ventura County. Cosmos is no exception, especially, with soccer royalty like Raúl González and Marcos Senna on the team. Come on out and see current and future legends of the pitch in our own backyard. For more information on the exhibition game and the team’s many upcoming spring youth camps and leagues, visit www.vcfusion.com. Come to think of it, catching up with all the players that Fusion has sent on to play around the world would make a pretty interesting story. While I’m busy looking into that, dear reader, if there’s a team, an athlete or a sports story we should know about, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.