Spring is coming, so is Bear River Little League | TheUnion.com

Spring is coming, so is Bear River Little League

Laura Lavelle, Columnist
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

I have been looking for signs of spring ” tiny little buds on trees, a seed packet display at Holiday Market, daffodils slicing the topsoil with blade-sharp leaves. As the dreary weeks of January wind down, there exists a promise of renewed life, sunshine and baseball ” more specifically, Bear River Little League, or BRLL, gearing up for its 2004 season.

I was skeptical about Little League in the beginning ” what I knew of baseball was mind-numbing images on TV. I have come to appreciate Little League, an organization founded in 1939 that played its first season in a vacant lot in Pennsylvania. Over the years, I have watched baseball affect my boys’ lives in positive ways.

Moving up and down in the batting order is part of a much larger lesson.

I am looking forward to starting over again this spring with T- Ball. My 5-year-old will no doubt spend more time counting the ladybugs crawling on his baseball cleats than counting RBI. The thought of witnessing the smile on his face as he pops the ball off the tee has me counting the days until the first practice.

With three sons who are BRLL alumni, my husband and I have a long list of coaches who have contributed to our sons’ development. The first coach we encountered after relocating to Lake of the Pines was Randy Anderson, a Modesto fire captain with six children. Those of us who know Randy appreciate the fact that he clearly loves

baseball, his only regret being that the week is only seven days long instead of eight ” he would want his team to use the extra day for another practice. For 15 years he has taught his players not only baseball fundamentals, but also discipline and teamwork. LOP resident Mike Ertola, a parole officer for Nevada County, is another memorable BRLL coach who has guided his teams with kindness, encouragement and undying enthusiasm.

In fact, my boys have never really had a bad coach. My opinion is that almost anyone willing to devote the hours and effort to coaching Little League is a winner. Former President George Bush was a Little League coach. His son, George W. Bush, is a graduate of the program and was the first U.S. president to visit the Little League World Series in 2001.

In 1939, uniforms for the first three Little League teams cost $30 total, and they were sponsored by local businesses. Today, operations are a bit more expensive, but local businesses are still stepping up to the plate to sponsor teams. BRLL president John Karas and his wife, Tish, have cheerfully volunteered countless hours to carry on the Little League tradition here at Bear River. They can be contacted at 268-3674 if you or your business is interested in having your name printed on the back of the BRLL uniforms.

Speaking of contributions, this year BRLL is short of volunteers for board positions. If you are interested in joining, please contact BRLL.

 The final registration date for the BRLL 2004 Spring Season will be Saturday at the Magnolia School Gym, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Boys and girls living in the BRLL area who will be between the ages of 5 and 18 by July 31 are eligible. Bring a certified birth certificate and current PG&E bill to register. For more information, contact Cheri Fry at 274-1218.

Laura Lavelle can be contacted at laural@theunion.com or leave a phone message with the readership editor at 477-4238.

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