Youth sports important part of growing up

By Clyde Davis: Local columnist

One morning last week, the host on a local station — yes, one that still uses local personnel — was sharing her experiences the previous Saturday regarding peewee basketball and how much fun it had been to watch the little ones playing their weekly games at Marshall. This column is about a real awesome bunch of kids from the 2006 Play Inc. league who fit into that category. I thought it would be cool for you guys — and girls — to have your first names and nicknames in the paper.

We had “Can Do” Carter, “Dynamite” Seth, and “Jammin’” Josh. Alongside these dudes were “Cool” Kassidy, “Big Mac” Makenna, and Elijah “The Prophet.” Rounding out the team were “Zoomin’” Zach and “Dr. J.” Jason.

We also had a great bunch of parents who jumped in to do everything from co-coaching to snack providing. Anyone who has worked with kids knows you cannot function without active and supportive parents. We did not have the proverbial “parent from Hades” — thank goodness.

With all of the joys of the season, chief among them had to be watching the kids, or working with the kids, toward developing into a team. By the time our final two games came along, we no longer had eight 5-year-olds contesting and grappling for control of the basketball. Our guys and gals were aware of the old maxim (old because it’s true): “There is no ‘I’ in ‘team.’”

There’s a lot of gratitude owed, as well, to the volunteers who make this youth sports program, or any youth activities program, happen. The first thought always goes to the coaches, but they are only the visible face.

The people who do the most thankless jobs are the ones who handle the paperwork, drum up sponsors, find and meet with coaches, carry around publicity, among others. They don’t get the rewards of hugs, high-fives, smiles and enjoyment of watching a team come together.

It’s vital to remember that there is a lot going on in Clovis in the way of activities for children, and that this is one of the breeding grounds for character. I know it is important to support our high-school teams, bands, drama programs, and all of the stuff that enhances the skills and the lives of our older children.

It doesn’t hurt to remember, though, that every 16-year-old was once a 6-year-old, trying to find the activities which he or she enjoyed.

To me there’s nothing sadder than the thought of a little child, a 5- or 6-year-old, who has no options other than to sit and watch TV all day, or to play video games. Maybe he or she would love to play soccer, or go to dance class, or get into an art program, but the parents or other guardians don’t have enough concern to make it happen.

Is there some way the cost of these activites could be underwritten? Is there a foundation, grant money, something of the sort?

In essence, we have only one little guy to finance, but I know some of the parents have three or four kids involved. That gets kind of costly. Just a thought.

Anyway, far afield from where we started. … Youth sports has been important to me for a long time — since I was a kid. I mainly wanted to say, “Way to go, guys!! Great season!!”

Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University. He can be contacted at: