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.