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We congratulate FlipGive Partner Babe Ruth Baseball on the opening of their 2016 baseball and softball season!
600 players, 3000 participants, 20 vendors, 6 bouncy castles, and countless volunteers; welcome to Palm Beach Gardens Youth Baseball Opening Day. Surrounded by parks and playgrounds, Palm Beach Gardens Baseball hosts one of the country's biggest youth baseball opening day celebrations. We got to talk to Kelly Rogers, Opening Day Director and this years 10U World Series host, to tell us what makes youth baseball so special.
On the players:
"It's a wonderful thing watching players grow up on the field and learn that it's okay to lose just as much as it is to win. The players on the team learn patience and the value of teamwork, and these kids make friendships that last forever", says Rogers.
"It's so amazing because a lot of the players who are now teenagers come back and teach the younger kids. You can tell that playing baseball has had a profound effect on them. The younger kids look up to them, and the older kids feel like they are giving something back. It's created this cycle where younger players learn from older ones, and both benefit from that teaching experience."
On Opening Day:
"It's a crazy experience, something that we plan the entire year for. It's not just about youth baseball, we give back to charities and have two high school teams come and participate in the ceremony. The entire community comes together to give back to those who need it. The mayor and city councillors attend as well."
On baseball being a family:
"All of our coaches and managers are volunteers. We do this for the kids, because nothing is more gratifying than seeing a child build friendships and grow through this sport. We feel like one big family, hands down. This is what keeps us together. We support each other in crisis and we give back to the community because they give so much to us."
Why they play the game:
"Baseball isn't a one person sport, and because of this it creates a unique team bond. You could have a player who is extremely talented, but the team will only win if everyone does their best. If a team is not united, they won't win, it's as simple as that."
On the lessons baseball teaches:
"As someone who is a lifer, my greatest memories are on that field. It's not just about being there, it's about everything that takes place there. It's about the memories and the friends that are made. We laugh together, we cry together, we play together. Being a part of this league has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life."