Editorial-The importance of the James White Park ball diamonds

With both ball diamonds in James White Park damaged by flooding, hundreds of local kids could miss their chance to be part of a team.

Children need to be active every day if they are going to be healthy and grow into healthy adults. Researchers have observed that highly active children are less likely to suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer of the colon, obesity, and coronary heart disease later in life.

Exercise is also known to relieve stress. Some children experience as much stress, depression, and anxiety as adults do. And because exercise improves health, a fit child is more likely to be well-rested and mentally sharp. Even moderate physical activity has been shown to improve a child’s skill at arithmetic, reading, and memorization.

But sport, not just exercise, gives a child more than just physical well-being; it contributes to a child’s development both psychologically and socially. Sport can affect a child’s development of self-esteem and self-worth. Children who are competent at sports are more easily accepted by children of their own age, and are more likely to be team captains and group leaders. Such children usually have better social skills. The primary goal of parents and coaches is to help children find the success in sport they need to make them feel valued and wanted. Every child can be successful at one sport or another.

Luckily, in Fernie, there are lots of options for kids to try out. From skiing, snowboarding, hockey and skating to baseball, gymnastics, soccer and boxing, there is a sport for very child. While some sports are only accessible to families that can afford expensive gear, clothing and fees, baseball is a sport that is available to every demographic.  Fernie minor baseball is a non-profit strictly volunteer based organization that provides a minimum of a six week outdoor baseball season for Fernie’s youth. There is very little cost involved, as the group provides uniforms and gear for the kids to use. The group is extremely popular, with all kids between three and 15 welcome.

With both ball diamonds in James White Park damaged by flooding, their season, due to start next month, might not happen, and hundreds of local kids will miss out on their chance to be part of a team.

Unfortunately, it comes down to money. As is often the case, provincial funding for sports is not given priority. Luckily, Fernie Council has recognized the importance of having the ball diamonds restored, and have decided that they will fund the remediation even if it ends up coming out of their pockets.

Hopefully they will see the money returned through the province’s Disaster Recovery Program, but in the mean time, they are pushing forward to make sure the smaller diamond is playable for this season, and the kids won’t miss out.