Sports played for the pure fun of it

By Bill Barrows

Amid the intensity and hype of the NBA Finals and the grind of the Major League Baseball season, there is a more innocent level of sports that can be seen all over Wabash County this time of year. The competitors are cutting their teeth on a number of levels and in a variety of sports. Let's take a tour around and understand what goes on.

High school spring sports have now ended. Baseball, softball, track and field, tennis and golf finished up about the time commencement had finished and a new crop of graduates left each building. Youth baseball is going on in several forms and organizations. Wabash Little League is probably the largest of those. There are four different variations of the league starting with T-ball for the wee folks, then progressing to Coach's Pitch then American and National League for ages 9-12. That is all played at the Field of Dreams, on the north side of town. The Senior League, ages 13-16, plays their games at the City Park.

Wabash County Metro League Baseball play games in Lagro, Roann, LaFontaine and at Southwood Elementary as well as a partnership with the Wabash County YMCA teams that is based on the softball fields at the Field of Dreams.

Speaking of softball, girls from the Wabash area play on teams through the YMCA in two age groups -- 8-11 and 12-14 -- at the Field of Dreams. Those teams also play against teams from North Manchester that are based at the Manchester Recreation Association near the high school campus. There are also travel softball tourneys a couple weekends a month at the Field of Dreams. Furthermore, the Y Spring Soccer Program (ages PreK-K through grade 8) is also in full swing on Saturdays through June.

High school basketball programs are engaged in summer leagues around the area. One of those is a league for boys teams hosted at the YMCA on Tuesday nights in June. Each school also has open gym nights as well as weight training sessions during the summer. The football and volleyball programs are also participating in summer conditioning as well as summer leagues.

There is a variation of sports as well as competition levels. These kids range in age from 4 to 18 and put in a lot of effort to learn physical skills as well as the mental aspect of the sports. And remember, parents help provide the resources, transportation and time away from home enjoying watching the kids' games. But never forget the volunteers who organize, coach and officiate these programs.

If you like watching sports that are not attached to multimillion dollar contracts, watching kids hone their skills for the pure love of the game and competition, stop by any of the venues mentioned above. Chances are all you have to do is follow the traffic or look for a bank of field lights in the distance. 

Posted on 2017 Jun 13