Youth basketball is underway

Published 12:40 am Sunday, April 27, 2008

Some of my fondest childhood memories are from my days playing youth baseball at Florence Little League in my hometown of Florence, Ala.

Even though I wasn’t very good and was usually stuck in the outfield because of my short attention span, I always enjoyed getting out on the field each Saturday afternoon.

The games were always fun, there was no real pressure to win and we always got a free soft drink at the end of the game. I mean, what could be better?

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After I stopped playing I got into umpiring, which allowed me to get involved in a whole different side of youth baseball.

Once again, I enjoyed it tremendously. And not only did I get a free soft drink, but also a free burger or hot dog as well.

The game of baseball is timeless in itself and watching kids play the game on a nicely manicured field can make you reflect back to the way it was when you were out there with the dirty uniform.

Now that the high school baseball season is coming to an end, the youth leagues are taking over in the Miss-Lou.

There are several youth baseball and softball leagues across the area and all have begun play.

It’s a credit to the strength of the recreation people in the area that there are so many great leagues for young people to hone their skills and have fun in.

Youth sports is one thing that a kid can do that will keep him or her out of trouble and occupy his or her time in a positive manner.

It’s important for kids to become involved in positive things like youth sports, especially in this day and age where there are so many negative temptations pulling at America’s youth.

It seems like everyday in the news, the people who are committing crimes are getting younger and younger.

Youth sports is a good way to prevent young people from ending up hanging out with the wrong crowd or taking advice from the wrong people.

Youth baseball is also a great place to find role models in the coaches and other officials.

Many thanks go to the numerous volunteers that help make the leagues run, from the directors to the coaches to the concession stand workers.

All of these people play an important part in a young player’s life.

I still remember all the fine men that coached me when I was playing Little League.

I also remember all the great people that helped run the league from my time as an umpire there when I was in high school.

All of these men and women played an important part in my life and helped me become the person I am now.

The players don’t realize it now, but the people they look up to, such as a coach, instill lessons in them even when it’s not expected. I know they did that for me.

So now that the big boys are about finished playing for the year, get out there and support the youngsters in the Miss-Lou.

They deserve the recognition as well.

Jeff Edwards is the sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3633 or