Leading off the spring sports season

Published 4:11 pm Thursday, April 14, 2016

Nothing sounds more like spring than the crack of a bat hitting a baseball.

Growing up, I spent my springs and summers at the ballpark with my twin. When we were younger, we’d hang out at Thomas Stadium and watch friends play baseball, eat cheese fries and gossip with our girlfriends.

As we got older, we moved into the press box at Brandywine High School, where we would keep score, tally stats and sometimes even make announcements.

We never played softball (or any sports really) but just like most of America, we spent sunny days in uncomfortable bleachers and hot press boxes purely for love of the game.

Maybe it’s the camaraderie among baseball teams that is the product of pure teamwork. Like a well-oiled machine, each player must do his or her part for the whole team to function. That kind of teamwork requires trust, hard work and determination, and seems to result in a brotherhood (or sisterhood for softball players). I think people just like being a part of that.

A couple of weeks ago, school sports complexes started bustling with activity. Baseball and softball teams filled the dugouts, anxiously waiting for their turns at bat. Girls soccer teams took the field despite chilly weather. Golfers took their first swings of spring. Track runners took their marks at the starting line and tennis players tossed up their first serves of the season.

For many athletes, spring is their time to shine. They’ve waited all year — many of them while playing their secondary sports like basketball or football — for their turn in the spotlight, and they have a limited time to show all they can do.

From now until early June, southwest Michigan sports teams will cram as many events as they can into a Michiana spring, and you can read all about it in The Leadoff, which is inside your newspaper today.

Student athletes from every sports team at Brandywine, Buchanan, Cassopolis, Dowagiac, Edwardsburg and Niles are spotlighted with team schedules, coach reports, team photos and action shots.

This is the first edition of The Leadoff, the third in the series of glossy sports previews we’ve produced this school year, following The Kickoff for fall sports and The Tipoff for winter.

We’ve heard great feedback about the first two products in the series and continue to work to improve the magazines each issue. We believe the athletes deserve the recognition, and hope the products serve not only as a guide for the community to learn about the upcoming season, but as a keepsake the athletes can file away in their scrapbooks.

Again this season, we’ve given each school its own cover. Those who live in the Brandywine area or who purchased a paper in the Brandywine school district should have received a copy with Brandywine athletes on the front, and so on and so forth. If you did not receive the correct copy, you can pick one up at our office in downtown Niles, or at the local high school.

Grab your copy of The Leadoff and don’t miss out on the opportunity to see all our local athletes show what they can do this season.


Ambrosia Neldon is the managing editor at Leader Publications. She can be reached by phone at (269) 687-7713, or by email at ambrosia.neldon@leaderpub.com