Continuing to Smell the Dew

Before I begin, do me a favor. I want you to close your eyes and imagine your younger self stepping into an opening day for the first time. The grass is dewy, your uniform is unstained, and the smell of a volunteer grilling hamburgers is wafting through the air.

You are one of the 60 percent of people who get to say they participated in a youth sport.

For the last 10 years, young residents in Micanopy, Fla. have not been able to say the same. However, that changes now.

Bishop Chris Stokes, a senior pastor in Micanopy, saw a need to bring back youth sports last October. A grant totaling $84,200 funded by the Florida Recreation Development Program and the Alachua County Wild Spaces Public Places helped bring the wish to reality.

An article WUFT News from states “there are three T-ball and baseball teams practicing with over 30 children registered.” The article also mentions how there was an opening day planned on April 17 but was unfortunately canceled due to rain.

The association has several goals lined up for the future as well including introducing a new sport to the youth league each year.

With such a high demand for youth sports nationwide, it is safe to say the 60 percent will keep increasing in the next few years, an opinion echoed in The Aspen Institute’s State of Play (SOP) 2020 The SOP states “professional leagues have embraced their role to drive grassroots participation.”

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, youth sport participation was at a steady incline, and the SOP expects to see those numbers continue to climb in the next year.

Hopefully, with the vaccinations well underway, we can continue to see numbers grow as well as continue to enjoy the smell of dew on grass on opening day for many years to come.