I wrote a column last week urging readers not to give up on our local youth baseball and softball programs, and I was encouraged by the quick response from a number of readers who feel the same way.
I even learned that there was a volunteer work day planned for that Friday at the Wardell Leach Complex. That effort turned out to be quite productive. That’s great news for the young people of this community.
This is an exciting time in their lives. Memories made on those baseball and softball fields will last a lifetime.
I remember playing on Sam Nicholas Field when I was a kid, and it might as well have been a Major League stadium. I can still remember the best players from the different teams. I can still hear the announcer’s voice saying “Please return the foul ball to the concession stand for a free snow cone” every time a foul ball sailed over the fence.
I’m sure there were some things that could have been improved in those days, but we didn’t notice them. We were too busy having fun.
The same has been true for my children as they’ve played local sports over the last few years. There were certainly things that could be improved, but they didn’t notice or care about those things. They were too busy learning and enjoying the game.
The kids are going to have fun no matter what if we let them.
As adults our job is to try to give them the best possible experience. That includes having the parks in the best possible shape, but it also includes things that have nothing to do with field conditions like remembering that the coaches and everyone involved in these leagues are volunteers who are giving their time for our children. It’s not an easy job making time to organize and lead so many practices and manage teams through the season. Anyone willing to do it is obviously doing it because they care.
Everything isn’t always going to go according to plan, and the best response when that happens is patience and understanding or asking “How can I help?”
Let’s start this year’s baseball and softball seasons remembering that it’s all about the kids on the field and give them the best possible experience.
One of my favorite tasks for this newspaper is photographing youth sports. I’m looking forward to capturing photos of many smiling faces again this season.