No joy in mudville after Little League season cancelled

| April 24, 2020 8:40 AM

A spring without Little League seems as unthinkable to many in Libby as a spring without high school sports. Youth baseball and softball are woven into the fabric of America’s small cities and towns and Libby’s no exception.

Yet the spring of 2020 has included a host of unthinkables and associated disappointments because of efforts to control the spread and lethality of COVID-19.

In mid-April, board members of the Libby Youth Baseball and Softball Association decided the most prudent and practical course was to cancel Little League baseball and softball for 2020.

Last year, more than 30 teams and 300 boys and girls participated in baseball and softball organized by the Libby Youth Baseball and Softball Association.

Ages range from 4-years-old to 14-years-old for girls and 4-years-old to 13-years old for boys.

During a typical spring, practicing starts in April and the season opens in early May.

Jen McElmurry is a member of the board of the Libby Youth Baseball and Softball Association.

“I’m disappointed,” she said. “It’s a big bummer.”

Yet as time slipped away and schools and many businesses remained closed, the board recognized that trying to launch the season late, with ongoing uncertainty about COVID-19 and related restrictions, did not make sense, McElmurry said. To get a season under way requires reaching out to businesses for donations, ordering uniforms and a host of other logistical demands, she said.

McElmurry played catcher on her softball team as a child and knows that youth baseball and softball yield good memories for many children.

“It was wonderful,” she said.

Fellow board member Randy Holm shared similar thoughts that youth softball and baseball are activities children and parents look forward to every year.

But when board members examined current realities and ongoing uncertainties cancelling the season seemed to be the most prudent course, he said.