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Well, it seems like only yesterday that we were racing around, putting the finishing touches on the inaugural season of Little League in Hills. Now I find myself writing a wrap of the fourth tournament! Where does the time go?

In just over three years, this programme has cemented itself into the culture of Hills baseball, and is set to be part of our landscape for a generation at least. When the NSW State U/16 players were announced last year, I was a little shocked to see names like Jordan Greenlees-Brown, Zac Shepherd, Tim Wakefield and Scott Richards among them. Surely these are just little boys, not long out of Little League?

Not so. They are all now young men, entering the prime of their elite careers in their chosen sport, even though they're only a few dozen months removed from Hills Little League. Time moves so slowly only for somebody of my age. K

Which neatly brings me to the core of this message.

A huge red colourful Thank You to everyone involved way back in 2007/8, and since. You have all contributed some bricks or mortar to something very special in baseball, and totally unique in Australian junior baseball. Something that will stand the test of time.

John Yard and Greg Robinson have worked tirelessly to make it all happen since the initial concept. Jeff Catt and Nigel Hern have always been behind the scenes, but never off the ball. Four generations of coaches, scorers, managers and umpires. The ground staff at Castle Glen and Corbin  Volunteers who staffed the canteens. Even our elusive and anonymous webmaster.

But, perhaps above all, the parents who have supported the concept and made the effort to get your kids to games on schedule and kit them out properly. Your kids spent some time in the fresh January air running around and having some truly adrenaline-driven FUN. Not locked in a dark room with an electronic friend, nor in a shopping mall learning some early lessons about how to buy and use drugs.

That's pretty {insert expletive of your choice} important from my POV. It will matter sometime down the track, and your kids or or your grandchildren will thank you for it .

All of you have made this the success it has become, and you can all take a bow. I'm not writing this on my account, nor is it a message from the Hills Juniors Executive, or indeed from anyone over 18. I'm writing it on behalf of the kids.

Your kids.

Moving on, I can also announce that we'll be re-thinking the whole Little League concept before next season. That will be discussed among member clubs at our usual monthly meetings. I'm aware that there was a bit of a scramble for places this season, and that for the first time we had to turn some players away. I hope that won't happen next season.

We'll be discussing topics like:-

  • Overall numbers. Can we increase capacity via extra grounds, officials and team staff? Do we want to? If so, how?
  • Should the programme be open to non-Hills players?
  • In 2007/8, we considered Little League as a potential marketing tool to extend baseball participation outside the existing regular weekend season. Is that policy still appropriate, or should we focus only on our own members?
  • Is the postcode 2153/2154 split {to break players down into Hills North and Hills South Tournament Teams} still appropriate?
  • Are we aiming for quality or quantity in January? We accept that the {State} Tournament Teams should be the best available, but how does that translate to what we do during our holiday season?
  • ... and so on.

If you want to have any input to this process, please contact your club or the Hills Executive directly.

And please, have a happy new year!

Peter Schmidt
Hills Juniors.


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