This time of year the pace starts to get a little more frantic for Bill Berry.
Berry, president of the Dover Little League, knows it won’t be long until snowballs are replaced by baseballs and softballs.
“With the weather the way it is and the way that it has been it all just hits you in the face and we’re still not going to be ready,” Berry said of the upcoming Little League season.
“Once the end of February comes everything starts coming at once – tryouts, teams practicing and then, suddenly, it’s Opening Day.”
With snow on the ground, Dover held its tryouts inside the gymnasium at Central Middle School last Saturday. It was the first step towards Opening Day at the Little League complex April 18.
Seeing the kids give their all at tryouts brings it full circle for Berry.
“I like watching the kids grow and be productive people in society,” Berry said. “We had a state championship team in 2006 and three of those players are now coaches and teachers in high school. One’s going to be an attorney and one’s going to be a doctor.”
Berry said he and others work to make the kids the focus of the game.
“The local Little Leagues around us in our district, Felton, Harrington, Camden, Smyrna and Marydel, we all work together,” he said. “We all try to make sure that it’s all about the kids and no one comes out here with their own hidden agenda or things like that … it’s all about the kids.”
While some Little League parents have earned a reputation for being a bit overbearing, Berry said if anybody doubts the cohesive nature of baseball that they should just come out and spend an afternoon at the Dover Little League complex.
“[Parents] get a bad rap sometimes, but once everybody comes out and sees what the product really is and what it does for the children, then they see how valuable it really is,” Berry said. “It keeps kids out of trouble and we promote sportsmanship and camaraderie. It’s amazing how they will come together.”