Nothing like youth sports

Published 8:43 pm Thursday, April 9, 2009

To me, there is really nothing better than a night at the ballpark—any ballpark.

I enjoy the atmosphere of a high school football game or the unbridled enthusiasm of a little league baseball park.

In the past few weeks, children of all ages, from those playing T-ball and coach pitch to those playing “more serious” games, have strapped on their cleats and ill-fitting caps,and once again brought area parks back to life.

In my years in the newspaper business, I have had the chance to cover many a little league opening day and game. And, without fail, it is the little things that make those events so special.

It is the mothers trying to tuck in a young boy’s shirt before he heads out on the field only to have him rip it out on the first chance he gets. Or the yell from a father to get dirty only to have his wife sitting next to him grimace at the thought of having to wash that clay out that night.

Very rarely is the action at the plate the most enjoyable part of watching little league. It is the right fielder, who hasn’t had a ball him to him in four weeks, losing interest and watching as ants build a new mound.

It is the coach who quickly realizes that coaching T-ball is equivalent to herding cats and comes to the realization that coaching is all about surviving the season.

Youth sports of all kinds— whether it be softball, baseball, soccer or swimming—are a crucial part of our society. Not only does it build the foundation of competition and good sportsmanship in our children, but also it offers a time of fellowship and community for the adults.

The times at the park are special, and we rarely have enough time to truly enjoy what makes it special. The next time you’re out at a game, sit back, take a deep breath and enjoy what makes those games so great.