May 2013
by Ruth Fordon

In the last couple of years, baseball has joyously ar­rived on the island, each spring incorporating more of the island youth of all ages. The Ocracoke Youth Center has organized the T-Ball pro­gram to teach the basics of baseball to these 32 boys and girls, ages 4 to 8 during the course of playing 7 games. Coaches Vince O’Neal, Matt Devan, Roger Meacham, John Giagu, Jen Monagen and John Kattenberg work with the children individu­ally at bat and in the field.

The Ocracoke Day Care Center has adopted the phrase “Peace Begins on the Playground”. Living in a world that is struggling with violent actions, it is very moving to watch these young children receive coaching about t-ball while also learn­ing about the bigger les­sons of life – sportsmanship, fair play, cooperation, team work, focus, following direc­tions, thinking ahead, paying attention, gaining self confi­dence and self worth. While having just plain fun with no scores kept, they are learn­ing to feel great about them­selves – what could be more important?

Ocracoke Island also has teams with older children. The Blue Claws and the Raptors are the next two groups by age and par­ticipate in the Hattersas Is­land Cal Ripkin League. There is also a middle school team that has just won their first two games. In two years they hope to have a school varsity baseball team as well. Next year a girls’ softball team will also be fielded.

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