To the league that raised me

A young ballplayer waits to swing.


A young ballplayer waits to swing.

In my previous editorial, I discussed a little league that brought me joy. Today, I want to talk about the beauty of the Thornapple Valley Baseball League or better known as the TVBL. These ballfields gave me a childhood to look back on. 

My first year of baseball was when I was around three-years-old. I had started playing tee ball at Cascade Park. Some days, I did not hit the ball, but I still smiled. On other days, I crushed the ball and again, I smiled. Younger me had found something he would love for the rest of his life. 

In second grade, I started my first year of machine pitch. We used the smallest field at Lions Park, yet I just could not seem to get the ball out of the infield. I used to blame it on the machine, but in reality, I found out that I needed glasses. Unsurprisingly, I could hit the ball again once I wore some glasses. But even through my hitting drought, I still caught myself smiling at the ballpark. 

In sixth grade, I was on the second largest field in the park. This is where my love started to blossom more. I was hitting well, fielding well, and even pitching was decent. I had been elected for my second all-star game. It was a blast being able to be on the same team as many of my opponents in this game. Most of us went to the same school anyway, so we would always discuss and break down the night prior if we played each other. But this all-star game was one for the books. One of my teammates had a home run hook just around the left-field pole to put us in the lead, ending with a win.

My eighth-grade year at TVBL would be my final year. After eighth grade, players go to high school to play freshman or JV baseball. My team’s coaches had been the ones I had for my sixth-grade year, so I was ecstatic. While our regular season was underwhelming, we managed to win against the best team in the league in one of the last remaining regular season games. We might have been one of the worst teams, but we definitely had the most fun. Not a single game went by where the dugout was not loud and filled with cheering. Unfortunately, the reality that I would not be playing in this league again hit me. 

As a senior in high school now, I want to thank TVBL for the memories, opportunities, and people I came across. In the end, it was not about which team took home the trophy. Instead, it was all about living in the moment with your friends and just simply playing ball.