By Mark Carpenter –
There’s really nothing like it. Hundred of kids playing ball and having a blast, hundreds of parents supporting them and having fun too, smiles, laughs, and plenty of concession food and friendly competition. If you don’t feel that is worthy of your time, then you really don’t have your hand on the pulse of small-town America.
Last Friday and Saturday night, the West Union Rec Park was filled, and I do mean filled, as the Southern Hills Youth League hosted their annual softball and baseball all-Star Games. Those 8U players have an impressive following! Kudos to Brad Rolfe and Gary Young and the dozens of other volunteers who organized and planned the event, though Brad and his microphone prevent me from keeping a low profile.
To be honest, the events Friday and Saturday night had my head spinning, so much going on and only one of me to try to be in three places. I did the best I could and hope that my report on the events in this weekend’s paper do it justice.
You see, there’s nothing like kids playing ball, whether it be on the field at the Rec Park, or in someone’s back yard, which unfortunately doesn’t happen much any more. As I have written before, our whole summer revolved around playing baseball for as long as the light permitted, but I would hazard to guess that I could drive through the county today and not find one good pick-up game. That saddens me, but times have changed.
One of the perks of this job is the publishers who will send you free books, hoping you will give them some publicity. Last week, I received “The Story of Little League Baseball” and if you don’t think playing ball as a kid is important check out this list of former Little Leaguers: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (what a strike zone), Dusty Baker (insert joke Matt Young and Ty Stephens), Joe Biden, Tom Brady, Kurt Busch, George W. Bush, Steve Carell, Kevin Costner (just a game of “catch”), Mike Ditka, Bryan Cranston (had a “bad” breaking ball), Danny DeVito (not so much of a strike zone), Bruce Springsteen (he was “Born to Run”), Dick Vitale (the PTP), and of course, one Donald Trump (Make Baseball Great Again).
One more time, thank you to those who organized the All-Star Games. Never a bad thing to see kids playing ball and having fun.