All ages, fee-free league encourages fair play and fun
The summer sports program in Lewisporte dropped the good old ball game from its list of offerings this summer. So one Lewisporte resident took matters into her own hands.
Summer just isn’t the same without hearing the crack of the bat or tasting a bit of diamond dust, if you ask Deanna PhillpotBoyde.
When the Lewisporte resident found out the town dropped baseball from its summer sports offerings, that just didn’t sit right with Phillpot-Boyde. With some help from her husband, she decided to take the matter into her own hands.
“The kids, as soon as summer comes in, they’re like, ‘when can we play ball?’” she told the Pilot. “When that wasn’t an option, we thought it would be cool to get everyone together and play.”
A group was created on social media, and some other neighbourhood parents were alerted to the potential pickup league. The goal was modest — get few local kids together and let them have some fun.
“I created the group,” said Phillpot-Boyde. “Everyone just started adding other people whose kids may be interested, so it just went viral.”
She said she didn’t expect much to come of the “league.” The group didn’t even approach the town to request formal permission to use the local diamond. Since it was just kids having fun on the diamond, she said, there was no need to create any set structure. There are no fees, no uniforms and parents take turns organizing teams on game night. The group is all ages, so teams are of mixed gender and varied age. The goal, Phillpot-Boyde said, is to ensure teams are not stacked, and everyone involved keeps their focus on fun.
“It was just meant for kids to get out and play ball,” she said. “We live in the area so we knew what fields are being used at certain times.”
The response has been over- whelming. On average, 20 children attend games weekly, comprised mostly of Lewisporte residents. Parents work together to ensure the games take place and that players can focus building skills and having fun.
The game may even break down barriers for some local children. Phillpot-Boyde said keeping the focus on enjoyment allows children to participate without judgment.
“I made that clear right from the start,” she said. “This is all ages and the first person I hear say ‘geez, you think she would have hit the ball,’ I’m going to point my finger and say ‘go.’”
There is no ridicule tolerated on the field. Encouragement is the key, she said. The games may even serve to break down some other barriers faced by at least one Lewisporte family.
“They are a family from Syria,” said Phillpot-Boyde. “You can tell they’re learning, and our older, more experienced players are being very kind. Like I said, there is no judgment.”
Jack Jennings cranks one out to centrefield.
Dawn Bungay gets ready to catch the ball while Janessa Boyde approaches second base.