Things are taking off at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, and it is not just airplanes.
The Mobile Area Rugby Foundation (MARF) and Battleship Rugby Football Club are moving their home to a new location. The Mobile Airport Authority is working to create a world-class rugby pitch, which will join the existing recreational amenities at the facility.
Construction of the field has begun on Commanders Drive, which is near the Airbus engineering office. Battleship Rugby is expected to host its first match there in the fall.
MARF has also moved into new temporary offices at 1891 Ninth St. According to a news release, the foundation’s mission “is to introduce, form and build a competitive venue for rugby at all levels in Mobile and Baldwin counties using a foundation-based approach that will result in a sustainable model for continued rugby program development.”
“The partnership with the Mobile Area Rugby Foundation is a true meeting of the minds and missions,” said Roger Wehner, executive director of the MAA. “Rugby is very popular with many of our international tenants and it is one more campus amenity — ‘a ball club to call our own’ — for our tenants to focus around.
“We were most attracted to their commitment to youth programs in neighboring schools, which is part of our holistic workforce development approach. Rugby, like many team sports, reinforces many of the critical soft skills required in the highly regulated and team-oriented aerospace industry. We could not be happier with this newest partnership.”
This is only the latest sports addition to the Mobile Aeroplex. Doyle Park, located at 1728 Rosedale Road, is a 24-acre space that has been converted into a new recreation facility. Rubberized-surface fields will be accessible to handicapped children and adults. Another area will offer room for soccer, football and softball games.
Meanwhile, the new rugby field at the Mobile Aeroplex will serve as a practice facility for the competitive squads and also the launching point for MARF’s youth outreach programs.
“The partnership with the Mobile Airport Authority is focused on bringing wellness, fitness education and community-based programs to the campus of the Brookley Aeroplex,” Robert Corley, who serves as chairman of MARF and coordinator of the Battleship Rugby Academy, told Lagniappe. “The Aeroplex is an amazing practice venue for us to continue building championship-winning teams, but also a facility to launch new community-based programs.
“Mobile Area Rugby Foundation and Battleship Rugby look forward to working with MAA over the coming months to support their community efforts — including the upcoming Brookley 5K on the Runway — while offering innovative programs to bolster community participation.”
Corley said his group has a number of initiatives set for this fall. These include their men’s team practice on Sept. 13, youth flag league on Sept. 25 and the annual Battleship Rugby Invitational Tournament (BRITS XV’s) sponsored by Mobile Sports Authority in November.
MARF has been reaching out to youth in Mobile and Baldwin counties with the sport of rugby since 2010. Since then, players and board members have been volunteering time to teach youngsters about teamwork while focusing on the core values of leadership, fitness, inclusion and passion.
“Rugby is a new, accessible activity that provides many of the same benefits of the major team sports without the high cost,” Corley said. “Moreover, anyone can play rugby. We have boys and girls, men and women from ages 6 to 60 playing on sports fields, playgrounds and in P.E. classes across Mobile and Baldwin counties.”
Speakers set for 1st & 10 club
College football is here, and so is the start of the 18th annual 1st & 10 Club. The initial gathering is set for Monday, Sept. 12, at 5:30 p.m. at the Mobile Marriott. The series is sponsored by C Spire and the Dollar General Bowl.
On the schedule the first night is Auburn head basketball coach Bruce Pearl. Others on the list are Zubin Mehenti, ESPN anchor, Sept. 19; Matt Barrie, ESPN sportscaster, Sept. 26; Joey Jones, USA football coach, Oct. 3; Frank Beamer, former Virginia Tech football coach, Oct. 10; Tim Brando, Fox Sports broadcaster, Oct. 17; Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama defensive coordinator, Oct. 24; Todd McShay, ESPN football analyst, Nov. 7; Chris McKendry, ESPN journalist, Nov. 11; and Holly Rowe, ESPN sportscaster, Nov. 24. On Wednesday, Dec. 7, the coaches for the Dollar General Bowl will speak.
The C Spire 1st & 10 Club, along with Powerade, will present weekly Scholar of the Week awards to two academic students. Two outstanding prep student-athletes will also be chosen.
For more information on the C Spire 1st & 10 Club or the bowl game, visit www.DollarGeneralBowl.com or call 251-635-0011.
Event celebrates fitness and family
Saturday, Sept. 10, marks the running of the 10th annual Brett/Robinson Alabama Coastal Triathlon. Along with the long-course triathlon, a sprint “Tri-It-On” event will start from The Hangout entertainment complex.
The triathlon will feature a 1.5-kilometer swim in the Gulf of Mexico, 40-kilometer bicycle ride and 10-kilometer run. The “Tri-It-On” event consists of a 300-yard swim, 10-mile bike ride and 2-mile run. Both races offer an individual division, plus two-person and three-person relays.
To register visit team-magic.com/events/67/contents/register. To learn about volunteering for these events with the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission, contact Sarah Cooper at 251-947-4611 or SCooper@GulfShores.com.
5th Quarter tickets
The 5th Quarter football game between Tuskegee and Florida A&M is set for Sept. 17 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The contest, sponsored by the Mobile Sports Authority, will kick off that Saturday at 6 p.m.
More information on the game and pregame events will appear in next week’s Lagniappe. However, those wishing to order their tickets in advance can visit 5thquarterclassic.com.