This may not seem like the most likely illness to come down with at such meetings. A headache from being flooded with facts and figures or a hand cramp from all of the furious note taking are the more likely options. But something sparked this wonderful fever.
At both meetings, the commissioners discussed funding for youth leagues. While the idea that many of our youth leagues are struggling to get funding is not a very pleasant thought, my mind began to turn to happier things.
I began to visualize my brother Elijah stealing home (a maneuver that always nearly gives my mother a heart attack); my sister Abigail chanting “We need a triple, just a little triple” with her softball team; and my smallest brother, Malachi, trying to hit off of a tee for the first time. I could almost smell the hot dogs and feel the cold chill of a soda on a warm day.
I am ready for Little League baseball season. Most definitely.
I’m one of those people who would probably go to Little League games even if none of my family members were playing. I love sitting at a community ballpark and watching kids play my favorite game on earth. And I can admire the game in any form — baseball, softball, tee-ball.
I only played on a Little League team for three years, first when I was 5, and then for two years when I hit my teens. I wasn’t that great, but playing on a team taught me how to work hard to improve at something, how to dust myself off after making a mistake.
I feel really sorry for kids who are interested in playing a sport but their parents never take the time to sign them up. I have very little tolerance for parents who say they are “too busy” to let their kids play sports or to come watch them play. To me, that is pure selfishness.
And money shouldn’t deter parents in Surry County. Youth league leaders who spoke to the commissioners last week said that they let kids play regardless if they can afford it or not. They find ways to make it happen.
Many youth leagues have registration underway, and soon teams will be practicing all over the county. If your child is not playing a sport this year, please consider signing them up next year.
This year Little League will not quite be the same for me. My brother Elijah is nearing high school age and now plays for two homeschool teams instead of Little League. I will miss seeing him play at Lion’s Park in my hometown of Walnut Cove. But while I’m losing one brother playing at the Little League level, for another it is just beginning. Malachi is 5-years-old, and he will play tee-ball for the first time. He has one of the most independent spirits of any kid I have ever seen, so I’m anxious to see if he will actually cooperate.
Most of all, I hope that he will catch baseball fever like the rest of my family has. We will hopefully have many more years of family Little League games to attend, since my 11-year-old sister has several years of softball left and Malachi will hopefully play for a while.
Maybe this year you will catch the fever, too. I hope this year Surry County residents support their local youth leagues, whether in baseball, soccer, or whatever sport children choose to play. These leagues strive to teach children about discipline, teamwork, athleticism and good clean fun.
I echo what local league leader John Collins said this week: “We need to play ball now more than ever.”
Meghann Evans is a staff reporter with The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1952.