Opinion

Everything Bremerton - Baseball: the great American game

Baseball season, the great American game, is well underway. Games with players of every age and size are playing on most of the available local fields decked out in a rainbow of team colors.

This year I have a front row seat to a host of Pee Wee games happening here in Bremerton from the last weekend in April to the championship games held the third week of June. No, my son Nick is not playing baseball, but I am helping to organize and run the concession stand during all of the home games for the Warren Avenue Knights held at the club’s Crownhill location. That means that for six upcoming Saturdays, I am out at the field from well before the first game at 10 a.m. to the end of the last game that usually starts at 3 p.m. or in one case, 5:30 p.m.

My own experience with the game is meager at best. I played softball for three years during 6th, 7th and 8th grades. Admittedly, I was not very good. At least I get the rules of the game unlike football where I lacked even the understanding for the most rudimentary basics until Nick started playing the sport three years ago.

There is just something about looking out onto the field with the green grass and the white bases, hearing the solid sound of that perfect hit out to centerfield and watching the kids run for home that just does something to you inside. In part it is the team and community pride. Combined with the fact that these kids are experiencing one of the things that makes it so great to just be a kid in the first place and that is team unity, respect, leadership and sportsmanship which comes with putting on that uniform to become a part of something bigger than themselves.

Adults play an important role in local youth-based team sports. Adults that need to remember that these kids are truly playing for the love of the game and the fun that comes with playing with their friends. It is not all about winning. It is not about contesting rules, hits or calls in a manner or combative way that sets a very bad leadership example. It is not about encouraging the kids to smack talk at school. It is about winning with grace and learning from mistakes when you lose.

So Bremerton, embrace your inner need for baseball this spring and summer. Take your family, sit on the grass, soak up the sun and catch a game. Games at this level are always free to watch. Chances are that many are within easy walking or driving distance from your home. These kids need to see that their community cares about them doing something good, something organized and constructive with their time.

When they themselves grow to be adults they will look back on the example that was set and go forward in their own lives to give back to the next generation of kids to play the great American game.

Let’s play ball.

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