COURIER LIFE, APRIL 22-28, 2022
BY JESSICA PARKS
Recreational sports leagues
are back in full force for the
spring season — much to the delight
of families and youngsters
who’ve resumed their positions.
“Two years after, people are
really excited to get this part
of their lives back, and we are
happy to be able to do it as volunteers,”
John Piccard, president
of SFX Youth Sports, an all-volunteer
recreational youth sports
team based in Brooklyn, told
Recreational sports leagues
were given the green light to begin
without restrictions this past
winter, allowing kids to play contact
sports for the first time since
spring 2020, when organized
youth sports were put on pause
due to the pandemic.
Later that year, city Parks
Department reluctantly agreed
to issue permits for low-to-moderate
risk sports after an organized
push from Brooklyn youth
sports leaders, electeds and parents.
Since the state only allowed
no-contact, outdoor sports, some
leagues used the fall as an opportunity
to revisit some games
missed that spring.
“We started up fall baseball
and fall softball as we wanted to
basically make up for lost time,”
Piccard said. “The families and
the players were excited to get
back to anything they could.”
Now, as pandemic-related
mandates ease across the country
and the state, presidents of the
borough’s recreational leagues
are happy to leave restrictions
behind and bring back a sense of
normalcy for kids who have suffered
through social isolation,
and give them an opportunity to
see their friends outside of school.
“It feels great, we are back to
normal,” said Tom Henderson,
Little League Commissioner at the
68th Precinct Youth Council. “It’s
great to see the kids’ smiling faces.”
Enrollment is seeing a spike
since reopening, both sports
league heads told Brooklyn Paper,
which they attribute to the
physical, mental and social benefits
of team sports and staying
active for kids.
“Our numbers are growing
now,” Henderson said.
The increase amounts to SFX
Youth Sports bringing on 30 additional
teams this spring and
the 68th Precinct Youth Council
seeing approximately 40 percent
more kids in the T-ball and Explorer
Youth sports also teach children
certain life skills like how
to work on a team, and how to
lose or win gracefully— lessons
the league presidents say they
still use in their daily lives.
“They can form new relationships
with people they might
have never come into contact
with, people from different
neighborhoods, different socioeconomic
said. “Dealing with adversity,
understanding how to lose gracefully
understanding that is something
I have to overcome.
Most importantly, playing
sports with other children is a
way for kids just to enjoy being
a kid. “It just lets them be kids,
they got to be around other kids,”
Henderson said. “They got to run
around, they got to get out there.
Not every kid has to be the best at
their sport, as long as they get out
there, run around and exercise.”
Back in full swing!
A future Major-League baseball pitcher
takes the mound at a recent game
with the 68th Precinct Youth Council.
Photo by Arthur de Gaeta
The 68th Precinct Youth Council opened its Spring 2022 Baseball Season on
April 9. Photo by Arthur de Gaeta
Youth sports programs gear up for no-limits season
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