Bringing Back America`s Pastime
Bringing Back America’s Pastime
A generation ago, before electronic devices became
mainstream, kids across the country could be seen
playing baseball or softball when weather permitted.
From schoolyards and city streets to open fields and
manicured ballparks, children tossed a ball around, hit
for the fence and sprinted around the bases, often
without adult supervision. And if they weren’t out
playing the game, they were rooting for their favorite
teams or trading baseball cards. Today, sports in general
are being replaced with video games, cell phones and
mp3 players. A growing interest in other sports such as
basketball, soccer and volleyball has also hurt the game
of baseball. Once considered the most popular sport in
the nation, baseball struggles to keep up with the times.
provided by High
School District 219.
“Overall, the program
was successful,” said
This conflict has touched our own community. District
219 coaches find themselves recruiting players with
little to no baseball or softball experience. In an effort to
give children more exposure to this historic sport, High
School District 219 brought the game of baseball and
softball into the elementary schools. Known as the
Baseball/Softball PE Initiative, the program’s objective
is to introduce the game to young students, improve
skills through participation, draw interest and raise
awareness of this great American pastime.
Last fall East Prairie implemented a pilot program for
students in grades one through five. High School
District 219 supplied all of the equipment, including
fielding gloves, balls and bats. For five weeks students
learned and practiced the basic skills of throwing,
catching, batting and fielding as part of a baseball/
softball unit held during regular PE classes.
“The kids were excited about playing,” said PE
teacher Eric Baumann. “It was something new and
different, and the students embraced it,” he said.
Many of the boys and girls had never worn a fielding
glove before and some put it on the wrong hand. With a
little practice and instruction, the students showed
marked improvement in their skills and knowledge of
the game. Children with previous experience brought in
their own gloves from home. These kids offered
assistance to the beginners. “Overall, the program was
successful,” said Mr. Baumann. “Next year should be
even better,” he added.
A FREE clinic for boys and
girls in grades K - 8 is
being held on Sunday,
February 26th at Niles
West High School.
For more information or to
register, please visit the
Click on “District 219
Youth Baseball & Softball
For any questions, please
contact John Frake at