Signups soon for Vidalia league

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 1, 2008

VIDALIA — When then-Vidalia Junior High School principal Fred Marsalis and Mike Bowlin started a youth basketball league for Vidalia in 1995, they had no idea how popular it would become.

“I figured we would have about 10 or 15 teams the first year,” Bowlin said. “It turned out we had 37.”

The league has continued to grow since then and as signups approach for the Miss-Lou Youth Basketball League’s 13 season, Bowlin, the league’s director, said he is expecting to have between 40 and 45 teams compete in the league.

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“This league is real popular with the school kids here,” Bowlin said. “I would say that 95 percent of the league is made up of kids from Vidalia, even though it is open to everyone.”

League registration for second through seventh graders will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10 at Vidalia Upper Elementary School. Registration fee is $50, which includes a jersey, trophy, team pictures and playing a minimum of 10 games. A copy of the new player’s birth certificate must be shown when registering.

For people who may not be able to attend the registration on Jan. 10, late registration will take place a week afterwards at Hometown Sports in Vidalia.

After a mid-January draft, the season will begin the first weekend in February and last about six weeks.

Games will take place at Vidalia Upper Elementary and Junior High School gymnasiums, and Bowlin said that all the money from admission and concessions gets put back into the schools.

“The schools are behind us 100 percent,” Bowlin said. “If it weren’t for them, the league wouldn’t be as successful as it has become.”

Bowlin said the league is an important place for children to learn sportsmanship and to get socially adjusted.

“We teach two main things, sportsmanship and social skills,” Bowlin said. “Basketball is a team sport and puts you in situations where you have to rely on each other. You can see a big difference in the kids after the season.”