Little League opening day in Cambridge

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Dorchester Banner/Gloria Rojas
The R&W Farms Cambridge baseball team at the start of the Little League parade, held last Saturday in Cambridge.

CAMBRIDGE — With bright neon T-shirts and equally radiant smiles, 17 truckloads of youngsters paraded down High Street to the Cambridge Little League Park to open the season.

On Saturday morning, with the blessing of sunshine that had chased away the rain of the previous day, 220 children, ages 6 to 16, first gathered at Long Wharf. They were joined by volunteer coaches and parents. Leading the parade was a firetruck and Police Chief Dan Dvorak. The children’s T-shirts, emblazoned with the names of local businesses and fraternal groups, gave the teams identity but also solidified a sense of community and support among adults in Cambridge.

Little League in Cambridge breaks down into four tiers. The youngest, ages 6-8, play machine-pitched games. The older players are in minor, major and senior categories.
The boys play baseball, the girls play softball. They all learn skills they need to play ball, but they are also taught attitudes they need in life, like sportsmanship and teamwork. Sampling opinions from the children is quite interesting. Fourteen-year-old Sabrina McKelsey says, “It’s a gift. You learn how to pick yourself up and keep going.” Stephanie Alvarez, 15, explains,”You learn to cope with personalities, to understand; I leave my troubles behind and have no attitudes.” Eleven-year-old Timmy Spencer says it helps him with his grades. Hunter Rose, 10, enjoys the fun and friendships. Canin Parks is only 7 but his mother Ami and his father Coach Doug see Little League teaching confidence and also important, being a part of something.

Jayson Shorter, the president of the all-volunteer league, is happy to see the number of kids who sign up increasing once again. Video and computer games once drew children away, but that seems to be changing. Also, children have more options than they had 20 years ago. Jayson explains, “Many youngsters have also discovered lacrosse and soccer, and that’s okay with me, so long as they are out and exercising, being a part of something.”

Little League has no elimination tryouts, no agents, no million-dollar contracts. A kid just has to want to play and sign up in a league where everyone wins, because participation and fun beat all.

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Dorchester Banner/Gloria Rojas
Cambridge Police Chief Dan Dvorak awaits the start of the Little League parade with the Provident State Bank softball team.

 

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