After a five-month break, the sounds of young people playing sports will soon return to local ball fields. With games set to start in just a few weeks, recreation league organizers are making one last push to get new players signed up.
“I’d say we are ahead of our curve now compared to where we were last fall with sign ups,” said Michael Peeler, sports director at the Kings Mountain YMCA. “We had a lot of parents who signed up with us back in spring to put a credit on their accounts so we have a lot of returning folks from the spring. All in all any parent I’ve talked to has been very excited. They want to get their kids out of the house, away from video games and just getting dirty the old fashioned way.”
This fall the YMCA is offering youth flag football, soccer, baseball, tee ball and outdoor volleyball.
“We are excited too because this is somewhat of our normalcy. We are trying to get back to that and trying to offer programs that benefit our communities and families as well,” he said.
So far Peeler said some 170 athletes are signed up to play one of this fall’s sports.
The YMCA season will start practices around Sept. 28, and games are expected to begin the week of Oct. 12. All teams will play an eight-game season over the following four weeks.
Shelby City Parks also announced an extended sign up period for its fall baseball and softball leagues this week. Families have until Friday to contact park offices and register for one of two age groups in each sport.
The season will follow a successful summer season at the parks.
“This year the players may not have gotten to play the season they anticipated, but we were able to provide a place to play, enhance their skills, and develop relationships with teammates and coaches,” said Jay Wallace, athletics program supervisor at parks and recreation. “Obviously, it was on a smaller scale than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic. We want kids and their families to come and play at the park. That’s our slogan “Play at the Park,” and we invite everyone to come out and play with us.“
The Parks and Recreation season starts practices later this month and will begin playing games in early October. Teams will play a month-long regular season followed by a playoff series.
The city has moved the fall football season to the spring. If all goes well, Wallace said the plan is to start practices in early February.
This fall’s seasons will look a little different than in year’s past as recreation leagues have to implement new safety standards to prevent possible spread of coronavirus.
Wallace and Peeler said their leagues will be implement temperature checks and will work to keep players and spectators alike distanced from one another. They will also be placing an emphasis in frequently sterilizing all player equipment.
Sign ups for the Shelby City Parks baseball and softball teams have been open and will have late signups this week. Parks offices are at 850 West Sumter Street and can be reached at 704-484-6811
Registration for YMCA sports programs runs through Sept. 27. The Kings Mountain YMCA is located at 269 Cleveland Ave., Kings Mountain. They can be contacted at 704-739-9361