02/21/10 — Help needed for Mar Mac baseball program

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Help needed for Mar Mac baseball program

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on February 21, 2010 12:42 PM

Managing Editor

An effort by two former Marines to establish a youth baseball league built around developing character and values as well as hitting and pitching has not received much support from the public.

When Steve McKinney and Demetrius Sykes came up with a plan to reinvigorate baseball in the Mar Mac community, they envisioned a program that would extend beyond the baseball season, that would help instill players with values that would make them better citizens.

They called it Extra Innings and used the acronym TEAMMATES as a motto, basing it on the values they hoped to instill, such as teaching, empowerment, advocating, mentorship, achieving and service.

They sent out 3,000 fliers to elicit support.

But just three people showed up at the organizational meeting last month.

So McKinney and Sykes, along with fellow organizer Tara Rodriguez are issuing a second call for volunteers to help with coaching, marking fields and running concession stands, and hoping that their message elicits a better response this time. They are planning a meeting for Monday, March 1, at 7:30 p.m. at Love Memorial Church.

"A successful league cannot be built without volunteers and this meeting will be a final attempt at recruiting additional parents and community members to volunteer their time," McKinney said.

McKinney said he understands the indecision to commit to something that requires time and patience.

"The answer is volunteers and community involvement," McKinney said. "In our busy lives most parents just want to sign their kids up, get their schedule and hopefully be able to feed them and get their homework done before shuffling them back and forth to practice. In fact, most parents are fortunate if they can coordinate this task successfully and incorporate it into their already overloaded schedule."

But he said the payoff could be something that would not only benefit the children participating, but the adults as well and their neighborhood and community as a whole. A boy learning the values of teamwork and service to others is less likely to become a man in trouble with the law and a drain on society, they believe.

They hope others will be willing to step up to the plate and help make their community a better place.

To learn more about the league, call Rodriguez at 394-8180 or e-mail extra innings1@gmail.com.