Dirt Bowl makes comeback; city leaders hope it helps stop violence


by Bryan Baker


Posted on June 25, 2012 at 11:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 26 at 3:58 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The return of a popular Louisville summer basketball league is one of many ways anti-violence activists are trying to clean up West Louisville. The Dirt Bowl is back, and many hope it turns around what has been a deadly spring and summer.

Mayor Greg Fischer took a shot at rehabilitating summer league basketball in Louisville. Fischer said he worked for about six months to bring the league back to Shawnee Park.

"The Dirt Bowl is going to be returning to our city," the Mayor said. "It's going to be returning to Shawnee Park right here to these courts this summer.

The dirt bowl debuted in 1969 and was last played in 2009. Violence and the rise of AAU leagues in part buried the past time.

"It's supposed to be like the biggest one out of the whole thing, 'cause there's more teams than there's ever been this year," Dante Newsome, who will participate, said.

Already, 17 teams have signed up to participate. It returns to West Louisville at a critical time.

"We've already gotten off to some tragedy in the community," Metro Councilwoman Cheri Bryant-Hamilton said, "And we don't want it to continue down here in Shawnee Park."

Recent crime has also inspired other community leaders to create life skills and job problems to keep people off the street.

Dirt Bowl begins Saturday and will conclude with the championship game on Aug. 12. For more information, call Metro Parks at 664-0780.