The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 7 - November 30, 2011


Island adult sports explosion

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Beach to Bay Construction adult kickball team.

The adult sports programs at the Anna Maria Island Community Center have seen a dramatic increase in popularity. Exactly two years ago, the Center started an adult co-ed sports department. Since that revitalization of Island adult athletics, the Center has formed 56 different teams and had 514 adult participants.

The balanced recreational concept of intermixing males and females has played into its success. The combination of the play emphasizing good sportsmanship, being somewhat competitive and fun for all has stayed true. The philosophy of the leagues participants that "we all have to get up and go to work in the morning so let's just have fun," seems to be working.

The popularity of the leagues has exploded recently. The current adult soccer season has nine teams in it, but could have easily formed to 11 teams. The league only plays on Thursday nights, so the Center can only schedule four games, leaving some late registrations on a waiting list and without a team. Registration for the upcoming winter flag football league sold out at 72 registrations, nine teams a month before tryouts were to begin. Currently, there are 18 people on that waiting list that might not be able to play.

This is leaving the Center with a dilemma on how to accommodate the mass number of adults that want to participate in these quality sports programs. Debate is going on whether or not to add on an additional night of adult play without interfering on the nights the youth leagues need to play.

Center Athletic Director Troy Shonk stated, "It's a great problem to have, and we will do everything we can to accommodate the interest."

The Center added Tuesday nights for adult sports already. In the spring it added Tuesday night kickball, in the fall it was basketball and in the upcoming winter it will be volleyball.

This adult sports explosion is just one more way that makes this unique Island such a great place to live. Among these active adults with common interests, these sports programs have become a great socialization catalyst.

For many, it has been almost like a Center alumni reunion. Past fiends that grew up playing sports at the Center are now finding themselves active again on the fields they frequented as a child. Old names from the hallowed Center's halls of youth MVPs are once again reliving the glory days.


All is fair in love and desserts

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Ellen Jaffe Jones prepares for an interview.


I should have written this column last week, but I didn't know then that the non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine was going to feature two recipes from my book, "Eat Vegan on $4 a Day," in its Thanksgiving menu recipes. The president of this organization of doctors, registered dieticians and health care professionals wrote the foreword to my book. He also started The Cancer Project. I had the honor of teaching cooking classes for TCP for six years before I got busy traveling on my book tour. So perhaps it shouldn't have come as a big surprise that PCRM would choose two of my recipes, one of which has special meaning.

One of the two is my Apple Crisp. I veganized it by removing animal products (defined as meat, dairy or eggs). Out of all the recipes they could have chosen from my book, they chose the one recipe my ex-husband hated so much that he ridiculed it in front of a friend we ran into at a grocery store up north. It was one of those moments that every divorced person has when you say, "That's it. Last straw. I'm outta here. My kids need to see that marriage doesn't have to be this way."

Of course, it was way more than the apple crisp. But as I write in my book, "It's more important to have a partner who loves and respects you, than a clone at the dinner table."

I've done dozens of media interviews in the past few months, as my book has remained my publisher's #1 seller. But I hhosts who seemed surprised that more people in my family don't eat the way I do, mainly because of my athletic accomplishments such as routinely placing in 5K races.

This week I was on Tampa's WMNF-FM's popular "Talking Animals Show." Duncan Strauss, one of the best interviewers I've heard asked, "As a mother, aren't you concerned 'How could this happen?" My pat answer – it was a divorce situation. Food, even in healthy marriages, can often be a battleground with children. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. A prophet is without honor in her own land. My kids are in their 20s. They still have a few years to reach Mark Twain's oft-quoted epiphany,

"When I was 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in 7 years."

So I'm hoping. But I understand it may be more challenging for them. When I divorced, one of the first things my ex did was mow down the organic garden the kids (and I) loved. Of course, I didn't say all these things on the radio. But it gives you a pixel in the picture. Walk a mile in my shoes.

How synchronistic that some unknown person at The Cancer Project selected my Apple Crisp recipe out of 100 in the book to be featured before a huge national audience. Since I'm sure my kids haven't read or will read anything I've written, I sent the link to them saying, "Remember when I used to make this? You loved it. Enjoy."

I have gratitude toward my ex. Had it not been for him despising my cooking, I wouldn't have been motivated to read most cookbooks in print, flagging every recipe I could find that he and my kids might eat. As a result, I became educated about food, taught cooking classes and ultimately wrote the book. I eventually found a few people and an incredibly grateful hubby who now appreciate my cooking. Sometimes it takes a lifetime, eh?

I'm interested in your stories of how you live with others who don't eat the way you do. How do you cope? What are your favorite recipes that lend themselves to you or someone throwing in meat at the last minute so you aren't making two different meals? Or maybe you're the meat eater dealing with a veg partner? Send your ideas to me at

You can find PCRM's Thanksgiving menu and the recipes from my book at Or in my book. They'll keep until the next holiday.ave been surprised at the incredulousness of some radio talk show

Apple Crisp

4 large medjool dates, chopped
1/4 c. oats
1/4 c. whole wheat or rye flour
2 tsp. raisins
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 medium apples

Combine the dates, oats, flour, raisins and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Remove the apple cores to within 1/4 inch of the bottom of each apple and place the apples in a medium saucepan. Stuff each apple with as much of the date mixture as possible, allowing each one to overflow. Add about an inch of water to the saucepan. Bring to a slow simmer. Cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. Serve hot or chilled.

*Tip:* You can also bake the apples in the oven in an uncovered baking dish at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until soft.

Makes 2 servings

You can follow Island resident Ellen Jaffe Jones on her Facebook page and keep up with her just released book:,"Eat Vegan on $4 a Day," or her website: She is also a nationally certified personal trainer and running coach. For training in a gym or private hire, contact Ellen at or 941-704-1025.

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