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Woodson Park: The Place to Play

Chris Brannick Published: July 17, 2013
Al Taylor and a kid who plays basketball at Woodson Park pose for a photo before playing a game in the gym. Photo by Chris Brannick, The Oklahoman.
Al Taylor and a kid who plays basketball at Woodson Park pose for a photo before playing a game in the gym. Photo by Chris Brannick, The Oklahoman.

The gym at Woodson Park has been an active place to be for more than 20 years. For Dion and Al Taylor, who have been there for the better part of the last 20 years, the gym is all about having fun.

Dion, a recreation leader, makes sure that everything is in order Monday through Friday in the afternoon’s at the park on S. May in Oklahoma City.  Al is right by his side making sure all of the kids coming from the swimming pool next door aren’t coming into his gym still dripping wet.

Once the patrons have signed up at the door, they begin shooting around. Once there are ten of them shooting, Dion is quick to blow the whistle and get the games going.

“When there is ten people that look like they can play, we’ll say ‘Shoot for it,’ and they’ll shoot for captains. And then we have a sign-in list for the ones that don’t get picked. When it’s realk, with a lot of people out my brother brings out the clock.” Dion said.

“About 5:30 to 5:45,” Al said about the league play starting each night. The brothers said together, they’ll get these kids out of here so the leagues can get going. Al organizes all of the different leagues that are running throughout the summer; women and men, adults and teenagers.

Dion began working here in 1990 and said he loves to watch the kids grow up. He introduced me to two young men who have been coming to the gym since they were young. Dion said since they were waist high to him, approximately 3-feet.

“For me, since I’ve been here. What I get out of it, when I see these little kids over here and they grow up and progress. That’s all I like to see. And you can build camaraderie with that too,” Dion said.

Dion and Al love to work every day to provide a good place for the kids in Oklahoma City to play. The enjoy it. They laugh as they talk to the patrons of Woodson Park gym, when they’re not shouting at the kids who are dripping wet.