, Corbin, KY

May 13, 2013

Little League deserves more credit

The Times-Tribune


Sports Editorial by Chris Parsons

I know a lot of people talk about it time and time again, but man-oh-man, time sure flies as you begin to get a little older.

Case in point, Thursday evening the Corbin Redhounds baseball team celebrated Senior Night and I couldn’t believe that the four guys they were sending off were already seniors.

I know there are tons of seniors who will be graduating at the end of this school year and I’ll get to them, but bear with me while I get to my point.

I’m focusing on this group because I spent quite a few years as a Little League umpire with the Corbin Little League, six or seven if memory serves me well, and I can remember seeing most of these guys on the baseball field as 12-year-olds.

I wasn’t always on the field when these guys played because I was just starting out and was paying my dues, as they say, in the minor league division so I can’t speak as to what kind of players they were at that level.

What I can speak of is what kind of players and young men they are on the baseball field at this moment in time. I said on the baseball field because I don’t know any of them off the baseball field.

Not once has either of the four of them ever given me any reason to think anything other than highly of them, with the exception of Derek Terry, but I’ll get to that a little bit down the road.

As I look around the Tri-County, there are a countless number of athletes I can say that exact thing about. What this shows you is that not only are our athletes learning to play sports at a high level, but it speaks volumes about some of the coaches in the area as well.

At some point in their young lives, the majority of these athletes were taught the fundamentals of the game as well as respect for sports overall. A lot of times when kids are younger, their coaches become like a second father and sometimes the only father figure they have to go by.

At the Little League level, these coaches aren’t guys that are getting paid and sometimes they don’t even have a kid on the team. A lot of them do it to help out a buddy or because they too have that love for the game.

The point of this whole column is to stress the importance of Little League Baseball and Softball programs around the world.

The patch that Little League players wear on their left arm has three words on it – courage, character and loyalty. Those are the values stressed by coaches at this level and so many times we see athletes continue to display those qualities as they advance in life.

Little League coaches hardly ever get the credit they deserve, so if you get a chance to do so, shake their hand and tell them thanks for taking time out of their lives and for having an impact on not only your kid, but kids all across the world  

As we send the Class of 2013 out into the world in a couple of weeks, I’ll share my Derek Terry story. About a week ago, while shooting a Corbin/Knox Central game, I had positioned myself perfectly to get a photo of a bang-bang play at the plate, which happened to be the winning run.

As I moved into position, so too did Derek Terry. Needless to say, I didn’t get the shot I wanted, but now I have a Derek Terry memory and you can rest assured that when he moves on and eventually comes back to town to watch a game or coach baseball, I’ll remind him of the time he ruined my shot.

Good luck in life to Derek and all of this year’s graduates, especially the ones in the Tri-County, and a hearty thanks to anyone that had a part in their early development and love of sports.