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Thursday, 16 July 2015 12:55

Bringing people together: Brothers start pickup games at Traxler Park

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Volleyball has been the most popular choice for the weekend recreational gatherings that brothers David Ferris and Austin Scoville started at Janesville’s Traxler Park. And the kids get involved, too. Volleyball has been the most popular choice for the weekend recreational gatherings that brothers David Ferris and Austin Scoville started at Janesville’s Traxler Park. And the kids get involved, too. Photos courtesy of Deborah Dreher-Bach/Allison Zapke

JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- They obviously don’t always think and act alike. After all, they’re brothers -- and six years apart in age.

However, David Ferris, 25, and Austin Scoville, 19, agreed something that worked well once should work again, or at least they were willing to try and find out.

The Janesville residents had gathered friends and classmates in Evansville, where they spent most of their youth, to play football. An impromptu chat while waiting for springlike weather to arrive rekindled the idea: What could they do to bring folks together and meet new people, get a little exercise, shake off the winter doldrums and have fun?

In April, they started with the tried and true touch football game and since have added volleyball, kickball and dodgeball. Volleyball has been the most popular activity, while dodgeball didn’t go over nearly as well in its maiden run. However, they plan to add soccer in the near future and are open to suggestions on what activities participants prefer.

The events are held at 1 p.m. Saturdays and/or Sundays at Traxler Park, and Ferris and Scoville said they couldn’t be happier with the response so far.

“We always like to be active, and what better way than through sports,” Ferris said. “We thought about what we loved to play as kids that adults could still do. And I thought it would be a good way to get to know people and the city. We started with five to 10 guys at the first football game, but we’ve had around 20 people several times since. So it’s been amazing.”

His brother echoed those sentiments about activities that draw mostly Janesville residents, but folks from Milton and Beloit have attended, and a close family friend from Appleton has made the trip.

“It started slowly, but once the word got out more it didn’t take long to start the fire,” said Scoville, who uses social media to promote their socializing get-togethers. “David asked me how I would like to start up a sports page (on Facebook) and I figured we had nothing to lose. So, I’ve been happy and surprised.”

The brothers usually supply all of the athletic equipment, although anybody is welcome to bring their own gear.

The same goes for the picnic-style meals; they hope to have regular cookouts on Sundays to go along with the sport of choice.

“I usually bring everything that is needed, so all the participants need to worry about is having fun,” Ferris said. “Do we ask for money to help with the events? No. If people want to contribute to help out, then bless them, but we don’t need or ask for it.

“Do we expect to get something out of doing this? Yes! The satisfaction of knowing we can help the community be a happier place.”

His brother said there’s another good reason.

“The first cookout we had, people showed up with food, plates and everything, so it’s really bloomed,” Scoville said. “And the truth is, David has to break in his brand-new grill anyway.”

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