On Friday June 8th of this year the Pyramid Sports Performance Center officially opened its doors, giving athletes from our area a place where they could come and hone their skills in their respective sport.
It has been approximately six months since the ribbon cutting and now if you enter the facility the amount of kids not only training, but having fun while doing it is a remarkable site to see. Directors Chris West and Steve Strauss along with their staff, which is mostly compromised of former and current athletes from Carbon and Schuylkill County schools have created a miniature city within the Pyramid's walls. That city is bustling with athletes of all ages whether it be at the batting cages, turf field, fitness center, wrestling room, or multi-purpose area.
"Our goal was to create a sports hub and I think that's what we have right now," said Strauss. "We have over 500 members that belong to our fitness area alone and the support from the community and the area athletes have been great. We've had such great luck with getting legitimate instructors in every sport that we offer training in and it really does create a fun and competitive atmosphere."
"We're thrilled where we are," said West. "However, we're more excited about where we're going to go and there's no doubt that bigger things are on the horizon. Everything is most certainly headed in the right direction."
It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows when the idea of the Pyramid first came about. I'll admit I've always supported the idea of the Pyramid and once the word spread I came across many people who didn't give the place a chance. Most of them siting their reasons as being that our area was too economically depressed for people to pay money for their child to train in baseball, soccer, or any other sport.
Instead, they would give me some story about how they were at the baseball diamond all day as a kid or basketball court and that's how they trained. I myself followed that same mold as I spent a majority of my youth and high school days with all my friends from Jim Thorpe at our community basketball court. However, times have changed and I bet those same people who were telling me the Pyramid didn't stand a chance most likely have children that spend quite a bit of time playing their XBOX or Playstation 3. A game for each of those systems can range from 40.00 to 60.00. It's just a fact that kids do not spend as much time outside as they used to making places like the Pyramid a great opportunity for young athletes to thrive.
The Pyramid also gives area athletes a place to meet and work together thus improving the area athletically as a whole. Thinking back I couldn't imagine training or playing basketball with the best players from Marian, Panther Valley, or Lehighton. It wasn't until my sophomore year of high school when I started competing in AAU that I started playing with other kids from other areas and I became better because of it. The Pyramid gives kids the chance to do that at ages as young as eight years old.
To get a pretty good look at what the Pyramid is all about head over to the facility on a Friday evening and check out the 4V4 soccer league. The league is held at the indoor turf field and is an absolute riot to watch. Imagine arena football, but in soccer form. It's face-paced, there's a lot of scoring and each team consists of just six players with a 3-on-3 format with a goalie in each net.
The Pyramid's wrestling room is also a site to see when it's full of grapplers. The room is 7,800 square feet of wrestling mats and creates an atmosphere of the old school type wrestling rooms that most schools still have today.
Baseball has been the cornerstone of the Pyramid since its inception with their pretty impressive batting cage facility. Heading up that department is former Hazleton and St. John's University pitching standout Justin Gutsie. Gutsie spent two years in the Texas Rangers organization before tearing his Labrum in 2010, ending his career. Gutsie and the Pyramid Baseball Academy will be offering winter training sessions to anybody interested through February.
Lastly, brand new to the facility is the Pyramid Evolution field hockey team. A U-16 and U-19 team will be calling the Pyramid home this winter and have already qualified for two national qualifying tournaments.
Six months later.. and the Pyramid is still standing, they haven't shut their doors, and the support from the community has been overwhelming. Yes, our area may be economically depressed, but people from our area have been using sports for decades to make better of those type of situations. The Pyramid is just another tool for those kids who want to make their dreams of becoming a stellar athlete come true.
For more information on the Pyramid visit www.pyramidsportsperformance.com.