Rec. League ready to play ball

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 13, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

The boys and girls of summer are back.

More than 4,000 moms, dads, grandparents, sisters and brothers turned out Thursday evening for opening ceremonies of the Selma Dixie Youth Baseball and Softball League. More than 1,800 players were introduced team by team before cheering family and friends.

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Each team paraded down the track at Memorial Stadium, waving and all smiles, marking the start of this year’s baseball and softball season. The City of Selma is only one of two cities in Alabama that invest in their youth through little league – an investment that recreation department officials say is “priceless.”

League play opens today.

Mayor James Perkins Jr., saluted the players and parents and wished everyone success. Elton Reece, director of parks and recreation, said success won’t be measured in wins and losses, nor by the number of players who make it to the big leagues.

“Tonight was great. It was great,” Reece said. “I wish everybody could keep the same attitude and philosophy about it after the season starts. I hope it transfers over to the Sportsplex and Complex. If God would grant me one wish, that would be to have the attitudes carry over from tonight.”

Reece reminds everyone what little league sports is all about.

“It’s about your child learning to take orders from somebody else. That’s the key to it,” Reece said. “Teaching your child to interact with other children. If they win, they win. If they don’t, they don’t.”

The Selma recreation department league is designed to provide an opportunity for area youth to play. Over the years several former little leaguers have excelled at the game, including Terry Leach, who has a World Series ring won as a pitcher with the Minnesota Twins. Jai Miller, drafted out of Selma High by the Florida Marlins, is now with the Double-A Carolina Mudcats.

While Miller may be the most current, Jamil Knight was drafted by the Chicago Cubs, and played a college career on a scholarship at Florida A&M University. Then there is Sylvester Love, Roosevelt Walker, Anthony Thompson and Terry Watters – all at one time were in major league systems.

“A lot more former players are doctors, lawyers, police officers, firemen. They’re people who have an impact on people’s lives,” Reece said.