We start at the beginning of April, and six weeks later the season is over right about the time kids are getting out of school for the summer. Baseball and softball are our biggest sports we run in the athletic division, and we have 550 participants each season with eight fields to schedule games and practices on.
It gets pretty crazy at Lakeshore Park and East Carrollton Softball Complex, but Chris Robinson and Julie Ivey do a great job managing expectations of parents and participants each season.
One of the cool things we were able to do this season was to get the two button jerseys for the boys, and professional softball jerseys for the girls. We were able to do this by purchasing in bulk and cutting back on some of our equipment, while still keeping the cost to play baseball at $35 for the season.
We also got belted pants for the kids instead of the draw strings. And let me tell you, the kids looked sharp out at our complexes each night. They looked like little professionals. And the parents, I think, liked the uniforms more than the kids.
My goal as Superintendent is to always keep costs as low as I can so that all kids can participate. But if you can throw in a few extra perks for the kids, then why not do it? Going with the Major League Baseball and softball uniforms made it more fun, and we got tons of compliments from other parents in our West Georgia League.
We also had some of the best coaches all around then we have had over the last few years.
In baseball and softball, we have more than 100 coaches, and our No. 1 goal each season with volunteer coaches is to make sure that they understand that winning is nice, but teaching the kids how to play the game is more important.
On nights when I was at the ball fields, it was great to hear positive reinforcement from our coaches and parents. Our coaches get it that we do not keep standings, so rarely will you hear them arguing with umpires or driving the win-at-all-costs down the kids throat.
We are fortunate in the athletic/aquatic division to have such amazing adults who volunteer countless hours each season when they are coaching a sport. As our division grows more and more, it’s cool that we are still getting quality adults to come out and coach our youth leagues.
I’m always kind of bummed when baseball/softball are over, because Chris and Julie put so much time into it. And in the blink of an eye, the season is over.
If you have never been to our baseball/softball complexes during the season, I encourage you try it out. It’s like a small city each night at the parks, and parents and kids always seem to be having a great time just relaxing and socializing.
It’s truly what makes Carrollton a great place to live work and play, and why I like living in small town USA.
Have a great summer, and football is right around the corner! See you then!
Editor’s note: Maierhofer is the Division Superintendent for the Athletic and Aquatic Division of the Carrollton Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department. His recreation column appears three times a month in the Times-Georgian.