CHICAGO (CBS) – Due to the pandemic we had to wait until July, but this brand new athletics field in Gateley Park has finally opened.
As Jackie Costek of CBS 2 tells us, low-cost programs are now finding rhythm and giving kids on the South Side a world-class facility for training as student competitions boom.
At the age of nine, Craig Collins ’life went in the right direction.
“I lived across the street from Eckersall Stadium, where the track ran. I heard a meeting from my house and decided to go and find out what it was all about. And I’ve been impressed ever since, ”said Craig Collins, director of operations and athletics at Gatley Park.
Craig Collins went on to run at Indiana University before training at high school and university.
“I’ve always said that the track is true. You put in the work and you see the results. It doesn’t mean you are going to win, but you can better your time, you can better your score with every attempt at work you invested, ”Collins said. “Children need it. I needed it as a child. ”
But growing up in the South Side, Collins never had what children now have: a world-class indoor facility that is public and in their backyard. Collins manages the Gately Park athletics programs, which are affordable and available to children of all ages and levels of experience. The facility will change the game, which he believes will unleash the potential of Chicago athletes.
“We had quite a few of them. From Shamier Little to Alexandria Anderson, who all grew up here in Chicago and on the South Side, and never had an advantage in athletics in a training room and always ran down the hallways, etc. “And that’s why you’re taking this motivation and now you’re introducing it to the kids, I think we’ll see that great things come out of it.”
Already, some of the country’s fastest runners have passed laps in Gatley, including the beautiful Oregon and recent Olympian Cole Hawker, who caught up with even Collins by surprise in January when he announced in a televised interview his next move.
He remarked, “I think I’m going to put an American record in a mile in Chicago.” I think I almost jumped, for example, where else are you going to participate in this race, except here in Gatley Park, “said Collins.
Hawker did attend Pullman at a meeting hosted by Wisconsin. He didn’t break the record, but put Gateley at stake. Like a radiant South Side space where kids want to learn and the world’s best athletes want to compete.