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Friday deadline for ball sport registration

Friday is the last day to get children enrolled in springbaseball, softball and T-ball through the Brookhaven RecreationDepartment, officials said, and those are all good ways to keepchildren occupied through the spring and into the summer.

“It can give them an alternative to mingle with kids from differentschools and make new friends, as well as exercise while havingfun,” said recreation department worker Anna Smith. “And some kidsjust end up loving it, it’s their hobby. Some of them even practicefor it in the off-season.”

The recreation department is currently offering several differentstick-ball games for kids and teens, including T-ball, slow-pitchsoftball, fast-pitch softball, Dr. A.L. Lott baseball, adultsoftball, and special needs T-ball.

Applications can be downloaded from the department’s Web site,www.brookhavenrecreation.com, or picked up from the recreationdepartment each day between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., said recreationdepartment Program Director Karen Harveston. Participation feesvary.

“Just fill out the form and pay us the money,” she said. “Just dropit by the office sometime when you’ve got a few minutes during theday.”

Last year there were 24 T-ball teams, six coach-pitch softballteams, and 13 teams in the 10 and under and 12 and under divisions.There were also two teams in the Dr. A.L. Lott league, officialssaid.

Program supervisor Valerie Moore said last year, the Lott leaguewas smaller than usual because of some changes made to theprogram.

“We had around 100 kids involved, but it seemed like everyoneenjoyed themselves,” she said. “And that field was put over therefor that community, and it’s great when the community uses it. Itgives the kids something positive to keep them occupied.”

In addition, Moore said, enrolling children in sports is a good wayto teach them important life lessons.

“Sports play a pivotal role in the makeup of a young athlete,especially in the middle school to high school years where studentathletes are much more mature and mentally developed,” she said.”Where else can a young, impressionable youth learn values likediscipline, responsibility, self-confidence, sacrifice andaccountability?”

Moore also emphasized that the success of a program and a child’sinvolvement in it comes in a great part from the community.

“Young athletes need to know they are appreciated and there is nogreater way than for the community to show that appreciation thanto get involved in youth programs,” she said. “In order toaccomplish that it’s going to take investment, and the mostvaluable investments are money and time.”

The special needs T-ball league serves children with special needswho might otherwise not have many opportunities to be involved inathletics, said Recreation Department Director Terry Reid.

“The greatest part of it is to watch a kid that could never do whathis brother or sister has always done, and the smile on theirfaces,” Reid said. “They’ve been pushed up to the fence to watch intheir wheel chair for years, and now they get to do it.”

But currently all the leagues are looking for coaches, officialssaid.

“It all starts with coaches that have a plan and methodology behindthe principles they are teaching,” Moore said. “There is a greatresponsibility on the coaches to help young athletes make a smoothtransition into society.”

Anyone interested in coaching or enrolling their children inrecreation department spring sports can call 601-833-3791.