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Smiles, Laughter, and COMPETITION are BACK! Oh, Happy Days!!

Smiles are an excellent investment — the more you collect, the better you feel. Sunshine and Vitamin D seem to make a body kick into high gear. When you combine them both, you have an awesome day. Why do I sound like a doctor and scholar (and you know I’m far from that)? Because this past weekend all over the Green Counties, about 500 young ladies from ages 10-18 got to play the game of softball for the first time since C-19. The amount of positive energy in those parks was enough to take two Stay-Puff Marshmallow Giants — no Proton Packs required.

Montgomery Head Coach Chris Glenn and his two partners at Keystone Select Softball worked their tails off to get I don’t know how many fields, schedules, and umpires together to make this happen SAFELY. They presented all teams and fans with rules like maintaining social distancing, cleaning and sanitizing of bleachers and dugouts between games, only a few players in dugouts and the rest outside the fence, limited family members could attend, and others so that we could ensure a safe playing field for the girls and safe viewing area for fans.

As I looked around the fields we were assigned to; it seemed as if the world had changed. People were extremely respectful of the rules, people respected each other’s space, and people loved watching their kids, grandkids, and siblings just playing the game that they all love. A mom from our team, whose daughter lost her senior season, literally closed her eyes during the pitcher warmups before game 1 to hear the POP of that catcher’s mitt. She had tears in her eyes when her daughter came to bat, saying, “I have waited so long for this.” That’s what sports mean to these kids and families.

For a brief 48 hours, the world had stopped, there was no news to watch, no health updates, just girls cheering, girls laughing and parents clapping and wondering why their daughter swung at that pitch, (haha). This past weekend was a major relief and a big mental boost to all those that played and attended. No Zooms or conference calls or ‘I need to check Moodle,’ for just that brief moment in time, life went back to normal for these girls. The new normal can be challenging, but to these kids, it was a true blessing, something they have been wishing and praying for the last three months.

Sports can be done if thought out and planned properly. The guys at Keystone Select and their staff should be commended for their efforts and for really truly changing the lives of these kids — oh, and by the way, they are doing it the next three weekends as well. If the rules can be lightened up a bit for fans and you can come and social distance respectfully, I guarantee you will feel so much better after seeing all the smiles and positive energy these kids will instill in your body and mind. Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations, and the diamonds around the county last weekend were all beautiful.

Eric Beiter

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