Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Opinion

July 6, 2012

OUR VIEW: Group effort leads to new vision for youth sports

GLASGOW — This summer’s first-ever run for all three Glasgow 10U, 11U and 12U teams quest for a state Little League Inc. berths will eventually come to a close, but the beauty of the season will not be that the teams won or lost, it’s how they came to play at this level at all.

Like the very best parts of our great community, the effort behind the story is the story. And like several generations that came before this group of parents, the desire to create something better spurred a committed group of civic-minded, kid-centered parents forward to make something better for kids. And for our community.

We’re proud that they did just that.

Like-minded parents in the Barren County youth sports leagues moved their leagues forward several years ago while Glasgow teams struggled for organization and participation. Travel teams and select teams became the path for those who could make it work but the leagues suffered and opportunities were lost. Girls, especially, didn’t have great opportunities for softball, parents faced tough choices too because travel for one child meant sacrificing summer schedules for other children.

Enter the Glasgow Athletics Program.

While locally it was always called “Little League,” though it is possible it was never sanctioned by Little League Inc., and local teams weren’t eligible to play in state, regional or national completion like kids from Bowling Green, Russellville or PRP did a few years back,  youth sports have historically played an important role in the life of our community since the 'boomers arrived post World War II. Just like the original founders of youth sports programs in Glasgow— and those who brought Barren County Youth Sports into a unified Ripken and softball organization a few years back, GAP sought to put the kids front and center and provide not just more and better opportunities, but also a sustainable path forward. And GAP did it in a first-rate way by focusing on a Little League track for its baseball program.

Anyone involved with youth sports knows what a huge volunteer commitment is required for a successful program. And what a commitment of time volunteers make — not just coaches but officials, board members, those who prepare the fields and those who sell concessions and take money at the gate. GAP took the great step of re-commissioning the entire youth sports program, baseball and softball, football and basketball and upgrading opportunities, facilities, communication and ultimately experiences for kids and parents. Those moves help keep kids and families engaged in sports and help bring them better prepared for middle school, and life, for the experience of being on a team and working together as a team.

Former Running World columnist and running author John Bingham has a great line, “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” We see much of Mr. Bingham’s wisdom in GAP and in the Barren County effort of a few years back. This wasn’t an easy task. It’s an impossible task. But it was a necessary leap forward in a world that has changed much since the inception of youth sports programs of the post-war baby boom era. GAP looks like they got it right and appears to have built it for the benefit of those coming after these kids who represented our community so well this week.

Hats off to the kids — and hats off especially those people among us who do so much to give all of our kids such rich experiences to build on in the life of our community because that is building community that endures.

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