Column: Fond memories

Published 2:12 pm Friday, July 6, 2007

By Staff
However short the regular season for Little League seems to have become since the days I played, the post season more than makes up for it.
Our youth baseball and softball teams have been playing the past few weeks in various tournaments around southwest lower Michigan.
Now as the weekend approaches, it is time for the Little League and Cal Ripken Baseball district tournaments to begin.
I can remember playing on the all-star team when I was in Little League.
I played so long ago, I got to use a wooden bat, although aluminum bats were available at that time – I am not that old!
I can remember we played in one post season tournament and one only. We traveled to one city, not several as they do these days.
I know that some of our teams compete in several tournaments at the same time, leading the kids and their parents to travel between towns to get to the next game on time.
I can remember how excited I was to play on the all-star team when I was in grade school. It was quite an honor to be selected.
I cannot imagine, however, what today's children go through playing youth baseball at such a frenetic pace.
July and August are not always ideal times to strap on the catcher's gear and sit behind the plate for six or seven innings.
I can remember not being the starting catcher for our all-star team, but getting the call in the first game of a tournament because the starter was sick from the heat.
Playing away from your home field back then was something special. Now days, almost every team plays out of town. It's not so special.
I can truly say that I enjoyed playing baseball when I was younger. They didn't really have football and basketball youth programs when I was growing up, so baseball was a big deal.
I hope the kids that are playing today get the same amount of enjoyment out of it that I did.
Have fun playing in the all-star tournaments. Do you best, and no matter if you win or lose, remember that this is just a game.
After all, that is what youth sports is all about – having fun!