, Newburyport, MA


May 16, 2014

As always, parents step up to the plate

I stopped for the red light at the corner of Newman Road and High Road during an ongoing baseball game of what appeared to be the smallest of Little Leaguers on Newbury’s Upper Green early this week, and I smiled.

“What Pop would have made of this,” I said to myself as I watched a team of uniformed very youngsters take the field.

Baseball and football dominated sports, and uniforms for those when what is now so very long ago were only for high schoolers.

For the rest of us all that was required for baseball were gloves, balls, one bat that we all used, and a single mask for catchers.

Changes came in Newburyport after our Second World War when the Kiwanis Club members succeeded in creating a league here as others were doing from coast to coast.

That was the birth in Newburyport of what is so active at the Pioneer Baseball League and Softball League on upper Merrimac Street.

The spread and importance of structured sports for the young of today has created a nationwide major market and costs to participate can be a burden for parents of girls as well as boys.

In that very long ago high school girls had a limited choice to either make it as a cheer leader, or take to the stands and cheer along with those who had made it.

They have come a very long way from that among a very long list of sports.

So has the involvement of parents in relationship to the expanded athletic activities available to their young.

Financial costs vary with the sports chosen and they can be costly.

Those of limited means with more than one of their young in schools that offer a variety of sports can face painful budget challenges.

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