Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - The sports headline was quietly optimistic, if not understated: "BYU Softball Breaks into Top 25." And interestingly, Brigham Young University's women's softball team gained new ground right here in Puerto Vallarta.
"U.S. softball on Mexican soil?" you ask?
In only its second year, the event is gaining popularity among local crowds. But perhaps the most salient footnote in this story is the venue itself; the beloved - if not understated - sports park called "Estadio" where the event was held; Estadio Municipal de Puerto Vallarta.
A Village within a Village
No doubt many have spotted the full-size running track and outdoor exercise machines while passing along Blvd Francisco Medina Ascencio, directly across from the Sheraton Buganvilias. Always busy in the morning with runners, or at night, under the lights, with a soccer game in progress.
If you peer beyond the track and inside this massive urban park - all 100 acres or so - you'll experience first-hand a slice of happy, active Mexican vitality in pursuit of fitness, community and outdoor activities.
Soccer Pitches, Baseball Fields, Fronton Courts, Basketball Courts & a Boxing Ring
Bordered by four colonias, Olimpica, Versalles, Lazaro Cardenas and 5 de Diciembre, the park is a magnet for nationals from all walks. While BYU women's softball players were competing in the softball challenge, on the opposite side, at Estadio's plaza entrance, one could observe regional elementary school La Escolta competitions. (La Escolta is the tradition of honoring the Mexican flag in a buttoned-down marching ceremony conducted by top-ranked students in their class.)
It's not uncommon to see skate boarding, weight lifting, fronton, boxing, jogging, aerobics, running, soccer, acrobatics, music, and volleyball all at once. Competition throughout the sports park is always spirited, laughter is abundant, and sweat pours from dawn to well past dusk.
The Estadio is at its most vibrant early mornings and evenings every day of the week. If you happen to be an early-morning jogger, and pass by the Sheraton Buganvilias, take a quick detour and find a path through Estadio and feel the quiet energy in every corner.
Whether it's the BYU Cougars cracking the top-25 against Oklahoma State under the lights of a bleacher-filled baseball diamond, or secondary students from Puerto Vallarta's Secundaria Foranea #29 participating in all-day Olimpiada competitions, one could argue that Estadio helps foster healthy community relationships – locally and internationally – like no other place in Puerto Vallarta.Philip Dingman is an expat Canadian writer/media strategist with Komunikas Digital Marketing based in Puerto Vallarta.