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Youth program kicks off new season

DAILY LEADER / JULIA V. PENDLEY / Roy Smith addresses players, parents and community leaders at the opening ceremony of the Dr. A.L. Lott league Saturday. The regular season will begin on Monday.

DAILY LEADER / JULIA V. PENDLEY / Roy Smith addresses players, parents and community leaders at the opening ceremony of the Dr. A.L. Lott league Saturday. The regular season will begin on Monday.

Youth, parents and community leaders gathered all around at the Dr. A.L. Lott opening day ceremony Saturday.

Despite a little rain and a lot of noise, Roy Smith commanded attention to inform the crowd that little league baseball is about much more than sports. The league is about building a better future.

“Frederick Douglass said, ‘It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,'” Smith quoted. “This is one of the reasons I’m so adamantly involved with the program. I want to be apart of our children’s progress.”

Mayor Joe Cox highlighted two benefits the league affords the community.

“It’s where parents, friends and family can spend time together at the ball park,” he said.

Cox also urged the players to take lessons from the field into other aspects of their lives. “Take successes on the field into the classroom and your life,” he said. “You can make a difference.”

Smith supported Cox by adding that studies have shown that those children who play little league tend to do better in the classroom.

“Better in the classroom means better adults,” Smith said.

Smith said the league’s priority was to maintain safety.

“We’re not going to have any violence period,” he said. “If there’s any violence, we’re going to go have you see the sheriff, right there. We’re not going to tolerate any misbehaving.”

Smith addressed two missing locks and asked if anyone knows what happened to them, to please return them with no questions asked.

“That’s part of the program, to instill leadership, citizenship and, of course, by all means, sportsmanship,” he said.

Scrimmages were held Saturday night, and the regular season will begin on Monday.