Pete Rose reported for duty at a school near his inner-city roots Monday to begin court-ordered community service as a gym teacher's assistant.

The former Cincinnati Reds manager began his 1,000 hours of community service by helping students at Heberle Elementary School in gymnastics exercises. Baseball's career hit leader also talked to one class about baseball."How to hit a ball and throw," said Tyrone Satterwhite, 8, a second-grader, as he left the school with his mother, Angela Satterwhite. "He was nice."

Another third-grader, Lawanda Bradley, 8, said Rose appeared to enjoy himself with her class.

"He said it was fun to be here," she said.

Rose started work a week after being released from a federal prison in Marion, Ill., where he spent five months as the first part of his sentence for cheating on his taxes. He is staying in a halfway house.

Rose's business manager, Cal Levy, brought Rose to the school from the Talbert House in the morning.

Rose, a Cincinnati native, showed up at the school wearing sunglasses, blue jeans and running shoes shortly after students reported for school. He said he considers the school service fun.

"I enjoyed it," he said after emerging from his first day's work. "We worked on the rings all day. It's not one of my favorite things to do. . . . I'm looking forward to the basketball and the volleyball and the tumbling. It looks like we have some good tumblers."