When Teddy Pettet gave up a teaching career to become a full-time recreation coordinator for the Town of Payson, he brought a wealth of knowledge and experience which he had gained as a longtime sports competitor, coach and official.
Pettet came on staff full time at the Parks and Recreation Department in July after teaching in the local schools for 17 years.
"I loved teaching and it was a great thing to do. I loved coaching golf, wrestling, basketball, baseball and a lot of different things, so I learned a lot," Pettet said. "There's a lot of good people over at the high school to learn from, so it was a great experience, but the opportunity to do this full-time was just way too tempting and it's a great department with a lot of good people down here to work with too."
Pettet's position as recreation coordinator involves many different duties including coordinating all the adult and youth sports leagues, including softball, basketball, youth T-ball.
Pettet is also in charge of the Punt Pass and Kick, Diamond skills competitions, youth wrestling, tumbling and any other sports camps which the town sponsors each year, as well as some new activities coming soon.
"We're also going to institute at some point this year the NBA two-ball competition, which is a new one the NBA has put out," Pettet said.
Despite a long teaching career, Pettet has been working with the Parks and Recreation department since 1991 when he was hired part-time to handle many of these same duties. With the growth of the town and an ever increasing demand to offer such activities, Pettet's position is now full-time plus, and he couldn't be happier.
"Athletics and sports have always been a big part of my life and I've always enjoyed officiating and have always been interested in the rules," he said. "I love doing schedules, so this was just a natural thing for me to be involved in. To get the chance to do it full-time was a temptation I couldn't resist."
With all the various sports, leagues and teams some might think the scheduling for all these activities would be a logistical nightmare. This is yet another area where Pettet is just the right guy for the job.
"Scheduling is kind of fun and challenging. I have a program that helps me but I rarely use it any more because it's kind of fun to do it by hand," Pettet said.
But there's a lot more than the challenge of scheduling which motivates Pettet to throw himself into his work.
"I like working with people and seeing the kids enjoying themselves," he said "I was talking to a couple that lives in Snowflake at a tournament that I was refereeing and they said the one thing they missed about Payson the most was our recreation programs and that we had more programs for adults and youth to be involved in than any other place they had lived, and I kind of took that as a compliment."
While there is no shortage of challenges to keep the day-to-day activities interesting, Pettet's real motivation lies in what the Parks and Recreation Department has to offer the people of the Rim country.
"If we can provide something for somebody that's going to improve their quality of life in Payson, that's what it's really all about," he said.