Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Our Park and Recreation Story: The Athletics Dream Team

July is National Park and Recreation Month. There are many stories to tell about the professionals that dedicate their career to creating life-long memories for your families.

Today, we are featuring the dream team that oversees Athletics here at the City of Southlake. If you have ever signed up for an Athletics program in Southlake, then you’ve benefitted from the work of Leigh Blake and Chelsea Cherry!

Leigh and Chelsea manage the athletics programs you love, such as BaseballTots, Basketball Skills Academy, and the athletic leagues. They share a passion for sports, bringing our community together, and creating world-class experiences for Southlake’s young athletes.

Athletics is a staple division in many Parks and Recreation departments across the country. Not only does participating in athletics promote physical wellness, but communities that value sports are safer, healthier, and more socially bonded than passive communities. For many children, municipality athletic leagues and camps are the first contact they have with sports. That’s why Leigh and Chelsea take their job so seriously. Let’s get to know them a little better.

My Park and Recreation Story: Leigh Blake, Athletics Supervisor
I’m originally from Tennessee and grew up playing soccer and softball. I won a state championship in soccer and was a state champion bowler in high school. I moved to Texas four years ago to pursue a career in athletics. I have worked in various roles and sports, including USA Baseball, junior golf, campus, and community recreation.

The best part of my job is watching kids have fun and learn life lessons playing sports. One of my favorite memories at work comes from my time in junior golf. We hosted a tournament at TPC Sawgrass, and I selected the hole location for our event on the famous island green there!

My Park and Recreation Story: Chelsea Cherry, Athletics Coordinator
I’m from a small town in East Texas. I moved to DFW to attend Dallas Baptist University, where I graduated with a Master’s in Sports Management. I grew up around sports, specifically football, everything shuts down on Friday nights in a small town for the HS football game, and baseball, (my little sister was a collegiate softball player). My true love of sports came from competitive cheerleading.

I started tumbling classes when I was five years old, but I was a shy kid. I didn’t get the courage to join my gym’s cheer team until I was 15. In those few years that I competed, I got to experience winning multiple state and national championships. I also learned how to be confident, come out of my shell, be a part of a team, deal with wins and losses, and many other critical life skills that come with sports. This is what drew me into a career in athletics!

My favorite part of my job is working with our staff to help them learn skills and build character traits that will carry them far beyond their time with the City. The best memories at work are always on the first game night of each season. All the stress, hard work, time, and effort spent preparing come together to create an environment full of excitement and fun for the kids and families!

Thank you, Leigh and Chelsea, for being a part of our winning Park and Recreation Team!