HISTORY OF REC SPORTS
The Start of Basketball and Softball:
Clark Ver Hulst founded Rec Sports in 1984. Rec Sports began offering indoor three on three and five on five basketball tournaments in the Grand Rapids area. In 1985, Rec Sports began offering softball tournaments in Jenison at the Georgetown fields and at Jenison High School. In 1987, Rec Sports began running the softball leagues and tournaments at the Knights of Columbus fields in Wyoming. In 1992, Dome World opened an outdoor softball field and had Rec Sports run the softball program.
Rec Sports Begins Indoor and Opens Beach Volleyball at Woody’s:
Clark Ver Hulst took the Rogers High School baseball team to Panama City Beach, Florida for spring break. After baseball practice each day, Clark would organize a beach volleyball tournament and a vision was born. After returning from Florida, Clark and Bill Layle set out to find a facility to offer beach volleyball.
In the spring of 1993, Rec Sports opened two beach volleyball courts at Woody’s/Spectrum Lanes located at 5656 Clyde Park in Wyoming. Within two weeks, demand was so high that lights had to be installed. In 1997, the facility was changed to a four court facility with lights on each of the courts.
Rec Sports began offering indoor volleyball leagues and tournaments in the fall of 1993.
Opening the Rec Sports Complex in 1994
Randy Bolitho and two other investors purchased the Westwood Ranch in 1993. Bolitho approached Clark Ver Hulst in late 1993 and asked if he would be interested in putting softball fields and beach volleyball courts behind the restaurant. Ver Hulst and Bob Staudacher put in two softball fields (Field 2 and Field 3) and Ver Hulst and Bill Layle put in four beach volleyball courts in the spring of 1994.
The third softball field (Field 1) was put into operation in 1995 and the fourth field (Field 4) opened in 2002. Growing demand led to the installation of lights on fields two and four in the spring of 2006. Flag football began in the fall of 1994 and is still played on the softball fields in the fall of each year. The hockey rink was constructed in 1995 and was used until 2006.
The Rec Sports Complex is located at 5760 West River Drive, approximately two miles northeast of Old Kent Park. This 29-acre facility borders the Grand River. The four softball fields were filled to capacity six nights per week and most Saturdays from April until October. .
There are nearly 150 league teams that play in the April to early August session. There are over 100 teams that play in the session that starts the first week of August and ends in October. There are 26 softball tournaments and three Little League baseball tournaments that are scheduled each season. There are also a number of Little League Baseball games that are played at the fields. These premier fields will host many tournaments for the National Softball Association and the United States Slow-pitch Softball Association.
3 on 3 Basketball Leagues and Tournaments:
Winter three-on-three basketball leagues are held on Monday and Thursday nights at Grace Bible College in Wyoming, Michigan. A brand new wood floor was constructed in 2009 at this excellent facility. Rec Sports hosts an indoor 5 on 5 basketball tournament for Gordon Foods Services each year as well as outdoor 3 on 3 tournaments for Tri-Unity Christian Schools, Walker Township, Cutlerville Days, Byron Center Township, and the City of Grandville. The Grandville tournament over the July 4th holiday has been going for over 20 years and is still the largest 3 on 3 tournament for Rec Sports. This tournament has over 100 teams starting with divisions for eight and nine year olds and having divisions for all ages and ability levels.