SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald
So return the stifled giggles in the crowd as a little one’s head drops between his knees to watch the ball rolling through his stance, and the sight of children’s chests puffed with pride after they hear for the first time the cracking sound of the bat meeting the ball.
Youth Baseball of Southwestern Colorado, a private nonprofit organization that supports teams for about 400 children in the Durango area, kicked off the season with a Skills Day on March 31 at the playing fields at La Plata County Fairgrounds.
For some, it’s a sign of spring – and maybe even a symbol of who we are as a nation.
“I think baseball is the American pastime,” said Richard “Roskow” Roskowinski, director of the organization. “I think baseball is something everyone believes in.”
For him and likely others in the community, the first day of the season says: “It’s baseball and apple pie time.” Teams in the league are formed based on age groups, starting with Tee Ball for ages 5 to 6. Machine-pitched games are played for 7- and 8- year-olds, and child-pitched games start with the 9- and 10-year-old divisions.
For many local children of all ages, the experience each year is “a big deal,” Roskowinski said. There’s usually some entertainment for the crowd, as well.
At the end of the day, though, it’s all about fun, Roskowinski said.
“Our goal is (to ensure) that every kid plays and every kid has an enjoyable experience,” he said.
And, of course, “it’s our job to have them run in the right direction,” he said.