Other options exist

Published 11:46 am Friday, May 2, 2014

To the Editor:

I am writing this in response to the letter printed in the News Herald just recently.

I share some of the same thoughts and ideas as others concerning today’s youth and playing the game of baseball and softball. We would like for every child that plays to learn the rules of the game and to master the art of skillful play. We also feel that this can be done without taking the fun out of the game.

While growing up in Aulander, I learned the fundamentals of the game from men like William Smith, Sidney Rogerson, Bing Mitchell, my father John Asa Drew, Jr. and other boys in the area. Whenever my family came into town, there would be ten to fifteen boys waiting to play baseball for the fun and the love of the game. It was a different time back 40 and 50 years ago. The Roanoke-Chowan area had the Tri-County league and we traveled from town to town twice a week to play after school was out for the summer.

Today our youth starts playing recreational ball in April. School is still running in high gear and end of the year testing hasn’t even happened yet. I hear parents all the time talking about my child has to do homework when we get home or we don’t need to be out here this late on a school night. You see people wrapped up in winter coats and blankets due to 40 degree temperatures. Some boys and girls that love the game are not even allowed to play in recreational leagues because they are still in the middle of playing for their respective schools.

Have you, as parents, stopped and asked yourself, how much does this affect your child’s schooling or why do leagues start so early and finish before summer break from school?

To help with some of those questions, I offer this reply. Each league pays good money to commit themselves to an association that requires them to play ten games prior to a certain date. This is so only twelve youth from each age group can be picked to represent their league in All-Star Tournaments. The remaining hundreds of youth go home for the summer, most with little, if any, organized activity. This opens the door for more idle time and mischief.

There are a lot of differing opinions concerning these matters, but there are options each parent may consider.

When the Aulander Ruritan Club restored the old Aulander High School ball field and organized the Aulander Youth League, we tried to take these things into account.

We are completely volunteer and independent, having no boundaries from where to draw players.

All funds raised remain strictly for the youth and betterment of the Youth League.

The National Anthem is played each night and a prayer is said before each game.

We try to never start prior to school summer break, as not to interfere with the education of a child.

The Aulander Youth League is small in numbers, but we are big at heart and always put the child first.

Youth baseball/ softball, regardless of where played, is a learning experience for a child, not only of the game but of team work, sportsmanship and respect.

I wrote this just to let your readers know there are other options than playing ball on cold school nights and to try and explain why other leagues play when they do. All leagues have good programs and play pretty much by the same rules. Even if your child plays in an early recreation league, they are still welcome to join us in the Aulander Youth League during the summer. This will give your child a chance further develop their game and give them an organized outdoor activity during the summer.

Thanks to all the sponsors and to those that support the efforts of the Aulander Youth League.

Billy Drew


Aulander Youth League