Sunday, May 06, 2007

Opening Day with Center City

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, a gorgeous Saturday in Burlington. The weather was stunning, and there was enough electricity in the air to power Burlington for a year. Yes folks, it was Opening Day in the Center City Little League.

This is something that took MONTHS of planning. Brian Pine, who is the new president of the league, took on a herculean task in organizing what had to be the best Opening Day in my three years in the league. We had Champ, we had tons of food, we had Mayor Kiss tossing out the first pitch, and man alive, the kids looked great.

I have been coaching in the Old North End for three years now, and will coach there when I have kids and my kids have kids. These are kids who live in one of the poorest areas in Vermont, but they have a spirit about them that is second to none. I got to Roosevelt Park at around 9:30, and there were already a dozen kids throwing a ball around. Mind you, the Opening Ceremonies didn't start until 11:00. The kids were in full uniform, and were already chomping at the proverbial bit to have their pictures taken, eat hot dogs, and to meet Champ. The pure joy in the kids eyes was just unreal. All these kids want to do is to play. It doesn't matter to them if they win or lose, they just want to get out and play with their friends.

I remember being a kid out in my hometown of Lafayette, California and getting geared up for Opening Day. We had ceremonies like Center City does, but we had a parade through downtown Lafayette. We would all gather with our teams, get in the back of pickup trucks, and scream and yell for the entire town to see. It was the one time that a kid, being me, who didn't play much, who wasn't that good, got to feel like a superstar. Hopefully that is the feeling the kids of Center City had on Saturday morning.

When it came to the opening game between my Red Sox and the Yankees, man alive the kids were jazzed up. The work we had put in so we could all show off for the neighborhood was going to be shown off for everyone. The Yankees, who were expected to win the battle between the two teams in Center City, were given a pretty good run. We were down by nine going into the fourth, but my guys were not going to give up. We put up a five spot in the fourth, and then pressed on to make it a game. We ended up losing 13-7, or something like that, but to me the score didn't really matter. My guys just refused to give up, and for that I was as proud as could be. It is going to be one heck of a season, and the next five weeks are going to be a blast.

More as the season goes on.........

No comments: