City opens recreation baseball, softball

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 7, 2002

Sports Editor

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford decided to keep his arm on ice for another year during Saturday’s Opening Day ceremony at the Sportsplex.

"Someone told me last season that they didn’t think I had thrown a strike," announced Lunsford to the crowd of parents, players and coaches who attended the Parks and Recreation’s official start to the youth league baseball and softball season.

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Lunsford, instead, offered the job to the person who has served the longest on Troy’s City Council; Councilman Charles Meeks.

Meeks accepted, but found the throw difficult at first. He’s still recovering from a broken sternum suffered in an early February car crash. "I had

a little problem with throwing it, but that may be because I haven’t thrown a ball in no telling when," he said with a laugh. "It was an honor for me to do that in the first place, but to have my grandson behind the plate catching it was even better."

According to Troy Parks and Recreation Director Dan Smith, family is what youth league is all about.

"It saddens me when I hear that parents or children are not participating in youth baseball, softball, or any of our sports," he said. "There’s so much more that a child can learn from participating in team sports, other then how to throw or catch a ball. But this day went great."

Meeks said the City of Troy couldn’t ask for a "better job" from Smith, Youth Sports Director Vaughn Daniels, and the entire staff at the TPRD.

"It’s been like this every year," Meeks said in reference to the amount of work and dedication Troy’s Park and Rec department puts into making April’s Opening Day a truly memorable experience for the parents and children involved. "We’re blessed to have people like Dan Smith, as well as the parents and coaches who help out during the season."

Gusting winds made for a chilly first day of recreation ball. Capp (5-year-olds) and Farm (6 and 7-year-olds) League players fidgeted with their jerseys and hats, as coaches did the best they could to keep the youngsters in a straight line. One boy pulled both his arms inside his blue Dodgers shirt.

"The Capp-leaguers are just so fun to watch, because this is a new experience for them," said Smith. "It was a cool day, but the weather was just beautiful.

As the ceremony closed, the little boys and girls joined hands, under the direction of their coaches, and helped lead one another out the gates and to their respective fields.