Money part of game for area families

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 5, 2006

Vidalia &8212; Full count, scores tied, ninth inning and one of Pam White&8217;s eight children stands at the plate with the deciding bat.

The score, the impact it will have on her child&8217;s confidence and money are just some of the things running through her head.

Summer league teams for children can get expensive and money can sometimes be a heavily weighing factor, but White is a mother to children who simply love the game.

Email newsletter signup

&8220;Every single one of my children loves ball and are very sports oriented,&8221; White said. &8220;I have had kids playing ball for 23 years and it gets expensive.&8221;

White, whose two youngest boys, Christopher, 8, and B.J., 10, keep the family busy on and off the field supporting the love, improving as athletes and having fun.

Fully-geared children must have items purchased from stores that carry sporting goods and aren&8217;t exactly cheap for the parents, White said.

Mike Bowlin, owner of Sports Center, a local sports clothing and apparel store, said price ranges really depend on what you want to buy. A fully outfitted kid from the cleats all the way up to the batting helmet on their head can cost several hundred dollars.

Bowlin said cleats range anywhere from $20 to $30, socks are $5, pants are around $14 and belts are around $5. The team usually purchases the shirt and the hat with the start up costs, he said.

Gloves range from $20 to $50, batting gloves from $5 to $20 and batting helmets with masks range from $20 to $40. For the extras most team members will want, a batting bag costs $20 to $40 and a bat ranges from $20 to $200.

&8220;We have every color socks in the rainbow,&8221; White said. &8220;It is unreal how much money parents spend on ball.&8221;

Seasonal baseball costs are one thing, traveling teams costs are yet another, White said. Hannah, another of White&8217;s children, plays high school softball and takes part on a traveling team, which requires $300 up front for hotel rooms. Hannah&8217;s traveling team travels somewhere different every weekend, White said.

&8220;Their daddy went and bought a bat for $300,&8221; White said. &8220;For $300, that bat ought to hit the ball out of sight.&8221;

Weekend excursions, following progress of the various teams, are what really hit the wallet hard, white said.

&8220;Last tournament we went to we probably spent around $200 or $300 on hotels, food and gas,&8221; White said. &8220;When you travel, as far as expenses, you are just on your own.&8221;

The reason at heart for the expenditures is really all about the love of the game and the love of the kids, Mudbug team coordinator Garlen Randall said.

&8220;There is no doubt it&8217;s expensive,&8221; he said. &8220;I don&8217;t think it&8217;s got anything to do with baseball. I think it&8217;s got a lot to do with wanting our kids to understand commitment and realize there is more out there than just Vidalia.&8221;

Randall said teams could have various sponsors that will help with the costs of having a team, but most of the expense falls on the parents. Most tournaments, he said, have a tournament entry fee that can range from $200 to $400, he said.

&8220;It&8217;s just fun and it shows the kids that you can be average and that&8217;s OK, but it also shows them that they can be more if they want to,&8221; Garlen said.