There are some sporting events at which no one, not even the hardiest fan, would be willing to pay to watch. And I’d be willing to bet that one such event is my slow-pitch softball games. During the last two summers I’ve joined office colleagues on a co-ed “state league” team that plays about once a week on the diamonds at Tom Brown Park. Starting at 6 p.m. most weeknights, the park lights up as a field of dreams for a wide range of Tallahasseans, but mostly you’ll find a bunch of struggling, middle-aged bureaucrats. The play is always very serious but not so intense that players aren’t afraid to laugh out loud at themselves when easy pop-fly catches slip out of the glove. Though free to watch, fans are few, especially on humid evenings. There are viewing stands near each diamond and a concessions desk. The city hosts slow-pitch softball leagues at both Tom Brown and James Messer Park. Team fees are affordable enough that it usually doesn’t cost each player than about $10 or $15 per season. My team, which sports light-blue shirts, is the “House of Pain” – we are all staffers in the Florida of House of Representatives. Catch our season schedule here at this link. — Mark Hollis
ADDRESS: Tom Brown and James Messer parks
The road buggy kicks up a patch of cinders and dust as it jets down the main straightaway. At the first sharp turn, a 180, the four-wheeler jolts sharply left and nearly topples on its side. The driver recovers. He presses the throttle down. The engine again whines to a high pitch and the vehicle races toward a series of short jumps. At the last of the tiny mounds, there’s sudden acceleration as the buggy flies in the air with all four wheels lifting way off the red-clay track. After another seven or eight loops around the curvy path, at times at speeds of over 50 mph, the driver, a hefty middle-aged guy, brings the vehicle to a stop. It’s time to change the battery pack. This is remote-control car racing at Tallahassee’s Tom Brown Park. Here, behind Tom Brown’s BMX racing track, R/C cars and trucks flip, roll and perform stunts. But most days there’s hardly anyone to watch despite it being nearly as exciting to see as full-size vehicle races. These cars and trucks are about 1/10th the size of real ones and are powered by high-tech rechargeable batteries or fueled on “nitro” — that’s nitromethane gas. A driver, out here on a late Sunday afternoon practice run, tells me that there are races with big gatherings of fans and racers about once a month. The next is set for July 9. He says the event will likely bring followings from several nearby counties and out-of-state. — Mark Hollis
LOCATION: Tom Brown Park, 1125 Easterwood Drive
Note: This post was intended to be published April 6
There are only two city parks in Tallahassee that have disc golf courses. Tom Brown Park in southeast Tallahassee is one of them. If you’re not familiar with disc golf, it takes the same idea of regular golf but instead of balls, there are Frisbee discs and instead of holes, it’s a metal basket you throw it into. At Tom Brown, there are 24 “holes” to throw your disc into spread across what is the city’s largest park. There are wooded areas with tall pines and wide open grassy pastures. You do have to bring your own golf discs, just like with regular golf, and many serious disc golfers bring their own bags with different discs. It’s a really relaxing way to spend a sunny weekend afternoon and it has a less pretentious vibe than regular golf. Unfortunately, there is no fancy country club lunch waiting for you at the end of your play. Tom Brown is more of a bring your own food kind of spot. Disc golf is also much more accessible to kids and a good family bonding activity. If you’re thinking “where on Earth could I buy disc golf supplies?” try Lofty Pursuits.
Address: 1125 Easterwood Drive