Sunday, January 24, 2010

Little League 2010

Wow, here it is, January 2010, and I haven't posted in over a year... After taking the plunge from Little League "blogger" to SunCreek Little League President, I became overwhelmed by the tasks and events involved in running a successful Little League program.

By July of last year, I was glad to be through the first year, wondering why I took on this time-consuming role, and frankly, ready to take a break. There were times when I was called from our own son's baseball game to another field to resolve issues for two grown men arguing over who had the right to use a baseball field. There were times where I was cornered at my job to discuss a LL issue. And there were many times last year when I didn't sleep because of a particularly jarring confrontation with a parent.

I wished I had thicker skin...

But there were times last year that I was able to take a bag of seeds and sit for an hour watching some 10 year olds play baseball. I attended at least one game at every level of our league last year, and sat through many AAA and Majors games. I blogged and photographed our kids and celebrated a full day at Alpenrose Stadium where all the SCLL teams played and the AAA teams instead organized a "skills festival" where the kids pitched, ran, and then broke up into small groups and formed mixed teams to play baseball on the main diamond TOGETHER. I still get compliments about our Alpenrose Day.

And I am proud of our ability to get some kids playing baseball who did not have access and opportunity in the past.

So here comes the 2010 season, fast and furious...

The weeknights are spent at meetings and answering emails and updating websites. But I vow to post more often to this blog because it helps me to write and I hope it helps other youth sports parents out there...

Thanks for reading and commenting and mostly, thanks for caring about kids...

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Little League On My Mind

I'm back from "Winter Break 08" and ready to talk Little League! I recently attended the 2009 Oregon State Little League Conference...met some great folks and now its time to put those ideas into action.

However, I might need to change this blog's name to (just another) Little League President:

Yep, I took the plunge... I am now the (proud) President of SunCreek Little League in Portland, Oregon.

I guess I'm a mama to over 500 Little Leaguers now!

It has been a wild ride since last summer. Our country is undergoing change that will most certainly effect Little League baseball and softball.

I do know this...simpler times call for our Nation's Pastime. As American adults struggle with economic challenges, I feel stronger than ever that we can provide fun and sport for kids this spring on ballfields around the country.

Thanks for reading, feel free to comment, and let's start discussing Spring Season 09!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

2008 Little League World Series: About the Kids

I guess I'm not the only fan:

"Meet South Dakota's Bill Hendricks"

I've been watching lots of 2008 Little League World Series on ESPN and ABC...the level of ball and size of kids is way beyond the scope of the average Little League games around here, but is Williamsport not kid-heaven?

Seriously, as many have said, the place is set up for families: free admission, free parking, lots of cheap junk food, crazy mascots, dancing umpires, a perfect cardboard-sliding hill, oh, and ESPN chicks and dudes hanging out, amping up the cool factor...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Celebration of (youth) Baseball

Now that the Little League Softball World Series has wrapped-up here in Portland, my eyes are glued to the HD for the Olympics plus the LLWS, which started yesterday. By the way, congratulations to Simpsonville Little League, Simpsonville, South Carolina, the 2008 Champs!

Our local team, Murrayhill Little League, advanced through our Oregon District 4, the state championship, and then lost in the Regional championship to Mill Creek, Washington. This is the fourth year in a row that a team from our District has gone to the final Regional game.

I caught many of the Regional Championships on ESPN, but, as you know, I'm keeping my eye on the Midwest representative from South Dakota. Canyon Lake Little League of Rapid City, South Dakota, lost yesterday to Tampa, Florida. But they play again at 3:30pmET on ABC versus New England (Shelton, Connecticut). I'll be watching!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

My New Favorite Little Leaguer

Sorry I haven't posted here in awhile...I certainly haven't abandoned Little League, but have been spending time on our local league and especially at the Little League Softball World Series here in Portland. There's a lot going on there, and you can check it out here.

But, I just watched the 2008 Midwest Regional final and a team from Canyon Lake LL (Rapid City) South Dakota will be the first from its state to go to Williamsport! What a great group of kids, humble and enjoying the moment. But my new favorite: #6 Bill Hendricks. The violin-playing, top student also happens to be the closer. He had me at the first strains of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" on the violin.

Tonight, our own Oregon District 4 Murrayhill Little League will play in the Northwest Regional final tonight versus Washington and even though I'm involved in a rival local league, I'll be watching :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

All-Star Season Thoughts

I love All-Star season because I don't have a pony in the race, so to speak. As long-time readers know, I never had a pony in the race, as Jack was designated an "alternate" for the tournament team when he was 12 years old.

I get to enjoy the excitement of Little League postseason as a fan, cheering at the games and outstanding play, visiting with the kids and their parents, and soaking in the atmosphere of youth baseball and softball.

I love that each game represents two communities, usually from just outside your normal sphere of school, work, grocery store, mall, ballpark... Maybe your opponent is from "just over the hill." Or maybe they are from the farthest corner of your county. Or maybe they will feed into your rival high school. Or maybe you know them from church. Or you manage the grocery store where all their moms shop. Maybe they look and dress like you, or maybe they are hipper than you :) Maybe there is an open parking space next to an SUV painted "Go Eric, Tualatin All-Stars 08" and you say "nope, I'll walk across the parking lot in the 100 degree heat before I park next to anyone from Tualatin Little League." Not exactly Yankees vs. Red Sox territory here, but your place on this earth takes on a different meaning during All-Star Season.

Then, one night, it's done. It's over. Your team has lost and there are no more games or practices and its time to hand in your uniform. The painted car is washed clean and you go from an All-Star family to "family with brown lawn."

So you end up with the rest of your summer to enjoy family and friends, maybe take a vacation, let the kids go swimming without worrying if it is a game day, paint the living room...

And as the tension of competition subsides, you find yourself smiling at that leftover painted car in the parking lot and you hope you run into them to say "How was State?" You stop after church to ask your former rival "hey, where's Joey playing next year?" Because (here comes a cliche) LIFE GOES ON. The cushion of time eases you out of the Tournament Time Mindset and hopefully you look back with a smile and with pride how you handled the Mindset.

It's that smile that I can't hold back when I walk up to a ballfield and see a game being played. It is the glance I make as I drive by any school or park looking to see if girls or boys are playing on the ballfield, and the smile that emerges if there is a game going on. If I have time, I pull over and hang out for a little while.

So smile. Win or lose, you were part of a special group of folks around the world who are taking part in the 2008 Little League International Tournament. And if you were not on an All-Star team: smile. Neither was my son. But he is still playing the game that we love, and has perhaps even more respect for the game. Life is a series of experiences (cliche) and the experiences on a Little League field can be magical.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

CA District 5 Junior League Champs!

Congratulations to the Eggleston boys and Fair Oaks Little League!