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2017
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Sports

T-ball’s rascals, scamps and scalliwags

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Spring is here and the distinctive sounds of kids, teens and young adults playing ball at Gaunt Park — the cracks of bats connecting with hard balls and soft balls, the shouts of joy, the roars of approval, the moans of dismay as another runner crosses the plate — fill the air. And that means it’s time for the Perry League, Yellow Springs’ all volunteer, 10-week T-ball program for girls and boys, 2–9 years of age. It’s the village’s non-competitive, beginner’s baseball program for all our community’s children regardless of their race, color, creed, sexual orientation, ethnicity, spiritual inclination or practice, ability or disability. And it’s free.
If you’re interested, if your kid is interested, then show up June 3, the first Friday night of our 2016 season. You can come to play ball with us or you can come to just watch. You can be a kid, a mom, a dad, a brother, a sister, an uncle, an aunt, a niece, a nephew, a grandma, a grandpa, a baby sitter or a nanny. You’re all welcome, you and your children, one and all.

Perry League’s a special, often hilarious program and we pride ourselves on how loving and tender we are, how patient and welcoming we are, how our focus is on the children and doing everything we can to ensure they are safe and happy and having fun.

Every child is given the opportunity to bat, to hit the ball and run the bases, the opportunity to field the ball, to catch the balls hit off the tee and throw them back to our many wonderful joyful happy happy enthusiastic volunteers — who are both adults and caregivers and the kids themselves. A lot of our older kids (being 6 and up qualifies you as “older” in our program) love to throw balls out to the children in the infield after the child at bat has hit his or her ball off the tee. We throw out a half dozen or more balls after each kid bats, an idea one of our parents suggested some years back: it’s a way we try to make sure every child gets a chance to get her or his hands on a ball, gets a chance to field a ball and throw it back to the volunteer coach tossing those extra balls out in the first place.

Of course, the kids don’t always just throw the balls back. Many of these little ball players are natural comedians, inveterate jokesters who enjoy throwing those balls back at the person throwing them out, but as often as not, they throw those balls way over our heads, finding this surprising turn of events incalculably hilarious. And even if you’re one of the people throwing those balls out to these little rascals, even if you have to shag those far-flung balls flying over your head, running here, there and everywhere — even if you’re feeling a bit put out, feeling a bit sorry for yourself as you wonder, “Why can’t they just throw the darn thing back to me?” — even then, if you stop and look at these rascals, scamps and scallywags, you’ll see their glee, their spirited animation and vivid energizing buoyancy, and then you will know to thank your lucky stars to be in the presence of such unforgettable breeziness and mirth.

And that’s the Perry League, our summer sea of irrepressible joy and almost unimaginable and utter abandon. Our wonderland of natural pranksters. Want to join us? You want to swim in our sea? Frolic with us in our wonderland? Then please do. Come on out, play some ball with us again. We’ll be out there at Gaunt Park from 6:30 to 8 p.m. for ten Friday nights, starting Friday night, June 3.

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T-ball’s rascals, scamps and scalliwags

by Jimmy Chesire