Stressing the fundamentals on and off the field
by Staff Writer
When kids sign up for Lake Norman Little League youth baseball teams, organizers say they should expect to learn lessons that go beyond the baseball diamond.
League co-founder Bill Hill, of Cornelius, wants to get back to the roots that blended youth baseball with a sense of responsibility and community pride.
“Our mantra and mission is to teach the players good life skills and habits and have fun,” Hill said.
Along with playing baseball, little leaguers will be asked to pick up and pitch in around Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson or whatever town they live in.
“We want the players to help prepare the fields by raking and lining them for their games,” Hill said. “This will help the towns that did that job before. This also gives the players a sense of ownership of the fields and makes them appreciate it more.”
Hill and co-founder Mike Burns have also come up with a concept they call “Fun-Damental” baseball.
“We want the players to respect the umpires and coaches and play the game the right way. I’ve never seen a 12-year-old player offered a college scholarship so our goal as an organization is to keep the game in perspective and keep the focus on the children.”
A big part of the Lake Norman Little League philosophy is community involvement. Players and adults with the organization have already taken part in an effort to provide warm coats to the Barium Springs Home for Children in Troutman. The facility provides care for abused and neglected kids.
“We plan other events at Barium Springs including birthday parties, special meals, and rewards for good grades,” Hill said. “We will be looking for other opportunities for the players to give back to those less fortunate.”
One of the league’s goals is to nurture a sense of community in northern Mecklenburg County, Hill said.
“It seems like everyone in that area goes to different schools and jobs and the communities have lost touch with each other,” Hill said. “We want to get back to the good old days so they can reconnect.”
The area that Lake Norman Little League will cover ranges from Exit 18 on I-77 north to Davidson, then east to Mallard Creek and west to Lake Norman.
Even though it was just organized a few months ago, Lake Norman Little League has already hosted a major event at Bailey Road Park in Cornelius called the Fall Slamboree. More than 150 kids participated to test their base running, throwing and batting skills. There was also a home-run derby for parents.
“It was a huge success,” Hill said.
This coming year looks to be a big one for Lake Norman Little League. Official sign-ups start Jan. 2, with a skills tryout day in late February to make sure the teams are evenly matched. The regular season will start in mid-March and runs until May.
Hill says he has already received inquires about the league from across the nation.
“I got emails from California and Illinois from parents looking to move here and wondering what little league activity there was,” Hill said. “We are going to be looking for some big numbers in the spring.”
Want more information?
For more on the Lake Norman Little League visit www.lakenormanlittle
league.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.