As Sam Sees It

The Winslow Little League is already in action and will be providing something positive for our kids to do until July for most players and much later for those fortunate enough to be selected for a successful all-star team.

You can’t go out most evenings without seeing scores of young boys and girls in baseball uniforms heading for the diamonds.

Thank you, people who volunteer your time to make this program a success. Some of you coach the teams, others work in the concession stands or serve as league officials in some capacity. Most of the umpires and scorekeepers are youths themselves, but they certainly provide a vital service.

The city provides some funding for the Little League program and we should be thankful for that as well. It really is a wise investment. If that program were eliminated or diminished due to a lack of funding, the city would need to find more money to combat the extra crime and juvenile mischief and violence that would result.

Young people who are engaged in such activities as Little League are much less apt to get into trouble than those who have nothing to occupy their time. Such programs play as big a role in crime prevention as more police do, maybe more.

A decade or so ago, some politicians ridiculed a youth sports program they laughingly called “midnight basketball.” I will always believe that the young persons who went to the gyms or lighted outdoor basketball courts to play were not likely to be engaged in vandalism or burglary or any of the other crimes that usually happen about that time of night.

Providing activities for our youth is not a perfect solution to every problem. Some will not participate in those programs and may or may not choose less wholesome activities. There is certainly nothing wrong with a young person choosing to read a book or work on a project of his or her choosing rather than playing a game. Some who do participate may still find the time to get into mischief and the inclination to do so.

There was no Little League when and where I grew up. The program came into existence there a few years later. My first experience with organized sports was American Legion baseball. My summers from the eighth grade until graduation from high school were spent in that fine program.

We also spent a lot of time playing “sandlot” baseball and pick up basketball games with no adult supervision. There was always a game like that going on whether it was football, baseball or basketball. Personally, I will always be thankful for a childhood in which we (children) planned and ran our activities instead of having adults make all of the decisions.

Little League isn’t perfect. You would have to be blind not to see some instances in which adults create situations that make it less than it should be.

The message of this column is not that the program isn’t perfect. Nothing instituted by and run by human beings ever is. What we all should recognize and be thankful for is that it is good for our kids and our community.

So, thank you again if you are or have been part of the Little League program. You probably don’t do it perfectly (as if anyone did), but you are doing or have done a fine service for our children and the community. You deserve our thanks and you have them.

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