As the rain gave way, the grillers at Bensley Community Center bravely cooked 550 hot dogs, preparing for the National Night Out crowd to...

As the rain gave way, the grillers at Bensley Community Center bravely cooked 550 hot dogs, preparing for the National Night Out crowd to arrive. Fortunately, the elements saw fit to grant mercy on the community and the sun soon was shining.

“With everything going on in the country, it’s time to come together,” said Chesterfield Sheriff Karl Leonard, addressing the audience. “National Night out is all about working with the community. We realize we couldn’t do our job without you; it’s a team effort.”

National Night Out was also special because it featured the dedication of two futsal fields . A futsal field is a smaller version of a soccer (football) field. The game is played with five players as oppose to 11 in regular soccer, on a court as small as a tennis court. The Bensley tennis courts have been repurposed for that game.David Glass, President of First Touch Sports, explained futsal and the advantages for Bensley Park.

“One of the things that our organization has noticed is that many of the kids living along the Jefferson Davis corridor really don’t have a lot of “space” to play,” Glass said. “Bensley Park is the one exception and a real diamond. We’ve been working with large apartment complexes and the county to identify underused space that can be repurposed for another use. So many of the kids living in this area absolutely love soccer. So it makes sense (common sense and financial sense) to take old run down tennis courts and repurpose for a variation of soccer known around the world as futsal. We worked with Crystal Lakes a year ago to repurpose their old tennis court and over the past year have been working with Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation to do the same at Bensley Park.”

The new amenity for Bensley, announced on National Night Out, fits right into the mission of bringing families and police together in a friendly atmosphere.

The event took place at over 120 neighborhoods across Chesterfield County, but the ribbon cutting of the futsal fields was a thrill for Bensley area kids.
“I think it really comes down to opportunity,” said Glass. “Many of the local sports associations have merged and now we have larger sports organizations that charge more and often have practices out of local communities. It’s really a question of equity. We want to make sure we are meeting the needs of all Chesterfield County children regardless of where they live. Dorothy Jaeckle and Carrie Coyner have both been advocates for children and families in the Bermuda District.”

As the ribbon was cut, christening the court into futsal service, children cheered. The excitement radiated from the group; as soon as the ceremonial trappings were removed, the kids went right onto the court and began playing.