All-Star games set to begin

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 20, 2010

The youth baseball season might have ended a few weeks ago, but for some of the baseball-loving youngsters in the Miss-Lou, the real season is just about to start.

Yes, it’s time for the All-Star tournaments to begin.

Several Natchez Dixie Youth teams — the 7, 8, 9 and 10-year-old teams — will begin district tournament play on Tuesday night.

The 9-year-olds will be hosting their district tournament at Ballew-Bowlin Field in Duncan Park.

The 11- and 12-year-old teams will begin their district tournaments next week and the Concordia Parish Dixie Youth teams will follow soon after.

The Natchez Dixie Youth teams have had some success in recent years, with last year’s 10-year-old team advancing to the state tournament.

A lot goes into All-Stars, and a lot of volunteers have to put in a lot of work and time to make it a great experience for the players.

First of all, there have to be coaches who are willing to spend their evenings and weekends every day for about a month conducting practices and coaching games.

That’s quite a sacrifice. I’m sure that after a day of work, grabbing a quick bite to eat and then heading out to the ballpark to for practice isn’t idea, but the men who coach these All-Star teams enjoy it.

They should be given a lot of credit for not only coaching a team during league play, but also taking another month out of their lives to coach the All-Star team and give the youngsters a positive influence.

In addition to the coaches, it also takes a lot of work by people behind the scenes to make the tournaments happen.

When Duncan Park hosts the 9-year-old district tournament this week, it will be because numerous volunteers will make sure things are running properly, operate the scoreboard, keep the scorebook, run the concession stands and work on the grounds crew for the field.

A lot of hard work goes into putting on a tournament, and a lot of credit should go to those who put in that effort.

And why do they do it?

Perhaps Natchez 8-year-old All-Star coach Mike Ray said it best.

“I’m not here for the parents or me,” Ray said. “When these kids are 70 years old, I want them to look back and have good memories of their All-Star experience. I want them to learn something about baseball and themselves.”

And that, more than winning, is what is really important about these tournaments.

It’s about winning, yes, but it’s also about having fun and learning about the game with your friends.

So be sure to support all the Miss-Lou All-Star teams over the next month.

After all, they are the future of the community. Let’s show them the support they deserve as they embark on their All-Star experiences.