Union’s parks department has a new person in charge of its sports programs.
Shayne Manetzke started as recreation coordinator Monday, Nov. 16. He oversees youth and adult sports events and leagues.
Manetzke, 24, originally planned to be a police officer. He earned his associate degree in criminal justice at St. Louis Community College and started at a police academy. But he got sick three days in and was hospitalized.
So Manetzke turned to sports, which he has long loved. He hunts, plays adult slow-pitch softball and golf, but fishing is his favorite activity. He enjoys going to Lake Taneycomo in the Branson area and wants to be a fishing guide when he retires.
“It’s just peaceful,” he said. “I like to trout fish a lot. I’ve got a lot of good friends down there.”
Prior to coming to Union, Manetzke worked with the nonprofit Ellisville Athletic Association for four years, where he served on the grounds crew. “This fits right in with what I was doing there,” he said.
Manetzke also umpired youth baseball and softball games, including for Greater Midwest Baseball, one of the companies that staged tournaments in Union in 2020. The city is looking to continue to land outside baseball tournaments even when other sites open up as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
After seeing the baseball and softball complex at Veterans Memorial Park, Manetzke is “100 percent confident” Union can play host to tournaments on a regular basis. “It’s one of the nicest places around, actually,” he said of the park.
Manetzke was one of 11 people to apply for the job in Union, which was previously held by Mandy Corum before she resigned earlier this year.
Though he lives in Eureka, where he graduated high school, Manetzke has spent time in Union, including fishing in City Lake and playing adult softball. He would like to move to Union after his girlfriend graduates optometry school.
So far, Manetzke has been catching up with the technological aspects of the job, as well as learning about Union’s various parks and sports leagues. Among the tasks Manetzke plans to work on is improving the adult softball leagues. He said he is driven by providing a better place to play, “especially for kids. The No. 1 priority is giving the kids a better future.”
Parks Director Chad Pohlmann was impressed with Manetzke during his interviews, particularly the practical application part, where applicants have to deal with a real-life situation. He also was impressed by his experience.