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Welcome To MARA Home on the Web!
Welcome to the Matthews Athletic & Recreation Association Website!!
Mara is located at 1200 South Trade St
In Matthews, NC 28105 @Arthur Goodman Park
We Are Not a Public Park Mailing Address
PO Box 1023
Matthews, NC 28106
MARA Concession 704-847-0177
From 6:00pm to 8:30 pm
Only During Spring & Fall Seasons Lost and Found Is Located near Main Concession in the Breezeway in front of the Restrooms
Mara is a 501(c)3 Non Profit Organization
All Donations Made to Mara areTax Deductible
We are a family oriented volunteer organization that provides a fun environment, quality facilities, expert instruction, and the highest level of coaching to ensure every child has an enjoyable learning experience with the opportunity to reach their full potential. We realize that the success of any organization requires various leaders at all levels. We certainly could not operate or be successful without the endless commitment of all administrators, coaches, volunteers, and you, the valued members of the organization.
We hope this website will provide useful and valuable info for all MARA sports. We provide current key contacts, schedules and tournaments for the upcoming or current seasons. Please be sure to visit regularly to get the latest updates. Matthews Athletic and Recreation Association is an equal opportunity organization.
Dave and Pam Viscount have been long time Mara Members and all 3 of their children played sports at Mara. Dave and Pam also ran our concession for 10 plus years. So if you can see it in your heart to please make a donation any amount will help. They are are a wonderful family and need our help. Please see Dave's story below:
I hope you are doing well. As many of you know, I was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease, in 2013 and luckily the initial progression of the diseases affects on me were slower than normal. Unfortunately recently the progression of the disease in me has increased to the point that both of my hands and arms and 1 leg are affected. For this reason I have started a fundraising page on
youcaring.com in an effort to raise money needed to modify our home to be handicap accessible and to help with medical and equipment expenses.
Now I have come to the point that is very difficult for me which is to ask for your help. If you can make a donation, you can copy and paste this link,
or you can go to youcaring.com and search viscount in fundraisers.
if you want to write a check instead, they can be sent to; David Viscount, PO Box 1568, Matthews NC 28106
In May of 2013 I started seeing doctors concerning issues I was having with my right hand. As I look back, it was around January of 2013 when I started noticing symptoms of what I thought at the time may be arthritis. My symptoms started with poor grip pressure in colder weather. By March of 2013 I had noticed what I now know to be muscle atrophy between my thumb and 1st finger. I initially thought this may be a tendon or ligament issue, so I started with a hand specialist. The doctors thought that they knew right away that this was a pinched nerve issue and the diagnostic testing started. After having multiple EMG nerve tests, 5 MRI's and multiple X-Rays we still did not have a diagnosis and I was sent to a neurologist. My first neurologist performed 2 nerve conduction tests and EMG's and tearfully advised my wife Pam & I, two days before my birthday, that she was 99% sure that I had ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease. At the time I was aware of ALS but not very knowledgeable about it and when I questioned the doctor she advised that there was no cure and at best, my life expectancy would be 3-5 years. Of course Pam was devastated and crying, but I tried to be stoic. The doctor also advised that a second opinion was required by an ALS specialist due to the complexity of the disease and she had already arranged an appointment with the ALS clinic in Charlotte. Fortunately, Charlotte is home to one of the two approved ALS centers in the state of NC and is led by Doctor Benjamin Brooks who, I am told, is one of the top 5 neurologists in the world specializing in ALS treatment and diagnosis. I remember that this all set in as I was driving back to my office and I too found myself in tears wondering how can this be, how will Pam survive without me and worse of all, how do you tell the 3 kids that you love so much and are so proud of, who were 24, 22 and 19 at the time, that their Dad is going to die soon. How could I tell them that I probably would not be around for their weddings or to see their children to be, my grandchildren. Also I worried, how will I tell my Mom, my brothers and my sister, my cousins and my Aunts and Uncles who fortunately had been and continue to be such an important part of my life. And what about my many longtime friends, friends I have been fortunate to have for over 35-40 years. How could I tell them? For me, these were the hardest things to deal with.
Finally in December 2013, Doctor Brooks and his staff confirmed a positive diagnosis of ALS and the poor prospects of a cure or a long life to come. The staff at the ALS Clinic is awesome -- neurologists, physical therapists, clinical social workers, nutritionists, speech therapists and nurses. But unfortunately, as good as they are, they don't have a cure either. They do however excel at keeping patients informed and as comfortable as possible along the way. I clearly remember my first meeting with the social worker on staff, basically advising me to get my life in order in preparation for death. Nice Huh, just what a 53 year old wants to hear. My response to the social worker was then and remains to be today that, " Sorry but I am too busy right now just to roll over and die so I am going to continue on my path as long as possible and I will worry about dying later "
We eventually got the word out to everyone and the support and love we have experienced over the past 30 months has been unbelievable. Our long time church members and friends have prayed for us continually and their support has been a great source of peace to Pam & me. My family and friends have been so strong and supportive, after getting over the tears we shed together. Many have helped us with completing tasks around our home that I am no longer able to perform on my own due to my physical limitations. Many of my longtime friends and family members have included me in their “Bucket List “of things to do. I have been kept busy by many of them and as they know, I love them all and appreciate what they have meant to me and what they have done for me.
Now I unfortunately have come to the point that I again face something that is very difficult for me which is to ask for help. My ALS symptoms have progressed to the extent that both of my arms and hands are affected as well as one of my legs. The reality is that my medical expenses are rising, I will soon need a wheelchair, a handicap accessible van and most importantly our home will need to be made handicap accessible in order to stay living near the friends, family and neighbors who are such a great source of support and help to us.
Please help by donating if you can. Share my story with your friends, families and church members through social media and email and I hope and pray that many people doing a little can accomplish big things together.
Every Monday night Queen City Q-Matthews will donate 10% of sales from MARA families. Nobody wants to cook on a Monday so this is the perfect way to treat yourselves and support MARA too. Wear some MARA gear or just tell them you’re with us. Donation will be valid on your entire check for dine-in and carry-out.
Queen City Q-Matthews makes award-winning BBQ, and smokes all their meats daily in house. All sides are made from scratch and they have a great kids menu too. The Q also has a fantastic full bar with excellent daily drink specials, daily lunch specials and full catering services.
We have another season of road construction in front of the park. For the next 6 to 8 weeks Sealand Contracting will have traffic diverted to the lanes farthest MARA and the lane closest closed while they work on utilities, sidewalks and paving. The entrance to the upper parking lot by fields 1, 12 and 13 will be temporarily relocated several times during this time frame as the contractors work in that area. Please drive carefully and pay attention to the changing entrances and traffic patterns. Unfortunately the ongoing construction will continue have an impact on our amount of parking and traffic in and around the park. We’ve tried hard to limit the impact by spacing games/practices throughout the week/weekend and staggering start times as well as laying out and striping the lot. Please carpool whenever possible and try to limit the number vehicles parked at MARA to one per family. We appreciate your patience as we try to make the best of a difficult situation.
Please remember that the speed limit in the parking lot is restricted to 5 mph. The limit is purposely low due to the high number of little children we have at the park who might unintentionally dash out between parked cars in their enthusiasm to get to the fields.
If you see someone who is exceeding the safe speed limit, please politely remind them that the limit is 5 mphs and that is to help ensure the safety of our kids.
We would like to remind our membership to be mindful of how and where you park. We understand that parking can be problematic at times but we need our members to ensure the cars around your car are able to exit easily.
So please remember the following –
If you have a problem or someone else has a problem being boxed in, please report your issue to the staff at the main concession stand. They will contact a MARA administrator who will help to find the offending owner or will call Williams Wrecker as a final option.
If you observe someone parking in a manner that is inappropriate, please be comfortable pointing it out to them politely.
Please be considerate of the handicap parking spaces and do not park there unless you have the proper tags; MARA administrators may contact Williams Wrecker to remove vehicles that are not properly tagged as handicap. We have several members and family members that require access to these spaces.
Most importantly, we need everyone’s help ensuring the access to the gates by the football, softball and baseball fields. The football gate is on the side of the parking lot nearest the dumpsters.
These gates allow emergency vehicles to access the fields and cannot be blocked.
We thank you all again for your cooperation and support and will provide updates as necessary.
NO Tobacco Use Of Any Kind (cigarettes, vaporizers, chewing tobacco, etc.)
NO Motorized Bikes, Go Carts, ATV'S OR Scooters
NO Skateboards, Hoverboards, Roller blades, or Roller Skates
NO RC/ Airplanes, Model Rockets
NO Kicking or Batting Balls Into Fences
NO Climbing Fences Or Trees
NO Climbing On Buildings Or Roofs
NO Parking on Sidewalks (Matthews Police will ticket
Mara Is A Privately Owned And Operated Complex. It Is Not A Public Park. Use of Fields Are For Association Members Only. Unauthorized Use Of This Property Will Be Viewed As Trespassing. Violators Will Be Prosecuted For Any Of The Above.
We don’t typically send out “required reading”, but this topic is very important as it affects the safety of your child. Take a few minutes to review this email, the news story by WBTV, and the WBTV video segment.
First let me give you a brief overview of the situation. A few weeks ago a 9-year old was struck by lightning while on the track field at Johnson C. Smith University. It was a serious and life threatening situation and it hit the local community hard. The local news reported the story but also used the situation to raise awareness of the dangers of lightening. WBTV took some additional steps and ran a story on MARA’s lightening detection system and its policies. I want each of you to read their report (at the bottom of this email) and view their video segment (click this link Lightening Strike Story).
This tragedy at Johnson C. Smith puts into perspective how serious we need to take these risks. As an example, many of you may recall last month we canceled some end-of-season tournament games because our system sounded an alarm. I happened to be there. The skies over MARA were fairly clear and a lot of people were frustrated. Some thought the system might be malfunctioning. Some thought we were being overly cautious. I even saw some kids come back to the field and start warming up before we got the all-clear. As a result I had to walk around the park and tell people to seek a safe shelter, even though the system was functioning just fine and it was detecting an unsafe condition.
Please use this situation as a wake-up-call. Let’s follow the guidance of our lightening detection system and hold each other accountable for keeping everyone safe. You can find the lightening policy posted at the park and on the MARA home page. You will also see it periodically in the MARA newsletter. Here is an excerpt from that policy explaining the alarms…
You will be alerted by one loud horn blast that will last 15 seconds. Upon hearing the horns, everyone should seek shelter immediately. When this occurs, strobe lights located on the top of the horns will activate and remain active while under a weather alert. Every attempt should be made to seek shelter in a safe environment like a permanent building or car. The Thorguard system will determine when conditions are safe to return. Three 5-second blasts will indicate that all is clear and the strobe lights will cease operation.
Thank you for taking time to read this email. The article I referenced earlier is posted below. Please read it as well.
How one group predicts lightning out of the blue
Posted: Jun 26, 2014 7:56 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 26, 2014 8:00 PM EDT
By Pamela Escobar
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A nine-year-old boy who was struck by lightning Wednesday on an open field at Johnson C. Smith University is in critical condition.
The 911 call, which was released Thursday, sheds light into how it happened. The caller tells the dispatcher, "My younger brother got hit by lightning."
The dispatcher asked, "Is he connected to any power source?
She responded, "No, we were in the field throwing javelin and he just got struck."
The boy who was struck was not part of any hosted university event. A spokesperson with Johnson C. Smith University said they do not have a lightning prediction system for these fields.
She said there wasn't a lot of lightning in Charlotte and it came out of nowhere. When a storm is coming you might hear thunder first or you might not.
"Some coaches would try to keep playing," said John Duncan, the treasurer for the Matthews Athletic Recreation Association (MARA).
At MARA they don't want to leave it up to a person to decide when it's not safe to be playing. Duncan points to the alarm system they have in place.
"It doesn't wait for lightning it senses the conditions and if the conditions are right. It will go off," said Duncan.
They say four years ago the board made the decision. And sometimes the alarm can go off without a drop of rain falling.
"You set it for different ranges," said Duncan.
Duncan explained that the Thorguard Lightning Prediction System they have in place is set for a three mile radius around their 27 acres of fields.
"Everybody's got to hear it," said Duncan as a loud blaring noise goes off.
He said the rule is when the alarm sounds people have to seek shelter immediately and to avoid the fields, bleachers, open areas, field lighting poles, and trees. He said after the hazard passes it can take about 30 minutes for the all clear.
"Almost everybody likes it except you get the far off storm that triggers it everybody is sitting around here and nothing is happening," said Duncan.
He said sometimes people get upset about postponing the game but the majority understand why the system is in place.
The system they put in place cost about $8,000 to install and $500 to maintain each year. It sounds cliche but they'd rather be safe than sorry.
Due to a large number of occurrences of other members’ cars being boxed in, we are being forced to contract with Williams Wrecker towing company in order to tow any car that has boxed in another member’s car.
We understand that parking can be problematic at times but the instances we’ve seen in the last few weeks seem to be more around lack of awareness and not taking a few minutes to ensure the cars around you have a way of exiting their spots. Just this past weekend we had a situation that could have turned into a medical emergency as a result of a member’s elderly grandparent being stuck out in the sun and not able to leave for more than 90 minutes due to being boxed in.
During the week of April 29th we will begin posting signs around the parking lots to ensure there is awareness of this need. Once all the signs are in, we will begin towing the situation arises. If your car is towed, you will need to contact Williams Wrecker (704) at 847-9309 to retrieve your vehicle from their facility on Industrial Drive in Matthews. There will be a fee of at least $120.
We apologize for having to take this action but out of consideration towards our membership, we feel this is the right action to take. Please use this weekend to start looking around after you park to ensure the cars around you are able to exit.
Thank you for your patience and understanding regarding our crowded parking lot during the busy fall season. We are hoping to have 40 additional parking spaces on the MARA complex in early 2014 or sooner.
The Mathews Police Department has notified us that anyone parking in the Chesney Glen Subdivision must do so in a fashion that does not impede traffic or visibility into and out of the neighborhood. In addition, anyone parking in front of a residence must stay on the road and not in a yard without blocking access into a driveway.
Any improper parking issue within the Chesney Glen Subdivision can result in a citation and/or towing of a vehicle(s).
We received an email from Chief Rob Hunter of the Matthews Police Department asking me to communicate to parents & coaches that when parking in the front parking lot (closest to South Trade Street), vehicles SHOULD NOT PARK on the Sidewalk. There are many citizens who use that sidewalk, including parents pushing strollers, and over the past few weeks, he has observed several vehicles either pulling (straight in parking) to far on to the sidewalk and some (parking parallel) parking half on the side walk and half on the gravel.
He knows it is Mara's desire to be 'good neighbors', and he does not want to have to issue $50 parking fines, but his officers will have to to this if violations continue.
Miscellaneous – MARA is an approximately 25-acre park maintained fully by your membership dollars and donations; MARA is not funded by any municipality; every dollar goes towards the park. Financial statements are available upon request.
In an ongoing effort to make the Matthews Athletic & Recreation Association the finest youth sports organization in the area, we are making several improvements and additions to our park security. These features will protect the organizations assets as well as providing an extra level of safety to you and your children.
First and foremost, many of you may have already noticed the security gates at the park entrance at the stoplight. These gates are currently locked open to allow everyone time to adjust to seeing them. We will begin utilizing these gates on a daily basis on Friday, October 21, 2011. The Board of Directors has adopted Park Hours that will be enforced. The new park hours are as follows:
Monday – Friday: Park opens at 3:00 pm and closes at 10:00 pm
Saturday: Park opens at 7:00 am and closes at 10:00 pm
Sunday: Park opens at 10:00 am and closes at 8:00 pm
There will be numerous signs posted around the park grounds stating the new hours as well as being posted on the MARA website.
During the Winter months (Mid-November through Mid-February) the gates will remain closed on most days as our primary field sports, baseball, softball and football; are off season. During summer months, the weekday hours will adjust to an 8:00 am opening to allow for All Star team practices and to accommodate the numerous summer camps held at MARA.
The upper parking lot will not be gated and will be open year round for MARA members to park and utilize the park grounds during operating hours when the main gates are locked during the Winter.
Our second measure of security is the installation of video surveillance cameras for the park grounds and property. We have a number of cameras that are being installed and will record 24 hours a day to provide video evidence for vandalism, theft and other crimes.
Thank you for being a part of this wonderful organization and supporting the new security enhancements to the park!
Lost and Found is Located in the breezeway in front of the restrooms near the Main Concessions. Check There Before You Call. They are open from 6:00PM to 8:30pm During the Week and from 9AM to 3pm on Saturday During the Spring and Fall Season. 704-847-0177
Safety of the players, spectators, and officials is our main concern at MARA
No weather event is more dangerous than lightning. Because of this
threat, we have installed the Thorguard Lightning Prediction System.
This system can provide advance warning of a lightning hazard, allowing
you the time to seek shelter. The system continually monitors and
evaluates the electrostatic atmosphere and predicts the probability
of a lightning hazard in the immediatearea of our facility.
You will be alerted by one loud horn blast that will last 15seconds.
Upon hearing the horns, everyone should seek shelter immediately.
When this occurs, strobe lights located on the top of the horns
will activate and remain active while under a weather alert.
Every attempt should be made to seek shelter in a safe environment like a permanent building or car. The Thorguard system will determine when conditions are safe to return. Three 5-second blasts will indicate that all is clear and the strobe lights will cease operation.
ALWAYS AVOID THE FOLLOWING:
Athletic Fields & Bleachers
Field Lighting Poles
Questions regarding Weather and Field Conditions contact
Mara Weather Line: 704-845-6337 or your Commissioners.