Opening Day for the spring/summer ball season is Saturday, April 4th, and in a scene that will be repeated all over America, mayors will be throwing out the first pitch. In Athens, Mayor Ronnie will first go to Coffee Call at the Veterans’ Museum, and then, at 9 am will be sending a ball hopefully straight over home plate.
Spring has finally come to Alabama, and it is the season of celebrating our chance to experience both the Resurrection as well as some much-needed recreation after an unusually cold winter. Holly Hollman, Communications Specialist for the City of Athens, had the following to say:
“This year, 440 players are signed up for baseball. There are 260 signed up for softball, and 270 signed up for spring soccer. In addition, Athens Recreation offers archery at Swan Creek Park, and there are 30 participants signed up for that sporting activity.”
That’s over 1,000 kids! In addition, Mayor Ronnie said, “This is the highest number we have ever had sign up for soccer. It’s going to be a great day,” he added. We have talked many times in this column about the concept of synergy, essentially the fact that the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” In a small city such as ours, team sports, when played, coached and supported well is one tremendous source of synergy. “Grandparents, parents, coaches, and players can all teach leadership skills by the way they behave on and off the field,” he said.
Synergy is alive and well, and spotted recently at Julian Newman Elementary when the Championship Huntsville Sparkman High School Cheer Squad came to visit. They took their 12th title this year, and in addition to the obvious synergy of a competitive sports team, the kids at Julian Newman “dished” some of their own. There are now clubs at the school that are based on Steven Covey’s 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People. While they have such creative titles as “Enthusiasm,” or “Ambassador,” or “Photography,” the point is to give the kids a chance to “walk out” the 7 Habits while having fun.
Another way of describing being highly effective is through what Timothy Richardson calls “keeping a grip.” In a chapter of the same title he reminds us of the need for balance, even in the midst of the much-needed enthusiasm we typically experience as our city moves into Spring and all that comes with it.
“Enthusiasm not only makes an impact on people, but, even more importantly it is contagious and can have undreamed of consequences, like the proverbial endless ripples made by a single plop of a pebble tossed into a pond.”
We definitely need to “toss ourselves into the pond,” and be willing to make some waves, but at the same time, we need to take care that we are keeping a grip on all that calls to us and not let ourselves get burned out.
We ended our time talking about things like the Mayor’s Boy Scout Prayer Breakfast, as well as the Celebrity Waiter’s night for Relay for Life coming up soon, and then prayed that, above all, we would stay firmly in the grip of the One who made us. Then it was time, once again, for Ronnie to roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner