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City Field Would Have Been Match For Softball

Dear Editor:
     I was so disappointed to learn of the Mayor and Board of Alderman’s decision not to allow parents and supporters of Water Valley Fastpitch Softball the opportunity to make repairs and improvements to Ritter-Tyler field.  These girls need and have earned a softball field that they can call their “home” field. 
    There is a field in Water Valley that is not being used to its full potential.  The team has a need; the city has a field; and there are a group of supporters ready and willing to put forth money, labor and material to prepare the field to a suitable playing condition.  All of this can happen with very little expense to the city.  So why did the city not approve the request?
    It seems the city is concerned about the initiative of future booster club members once this current group of young ladies graduates in about four years.  I don’t think the board understands that softball in Water Valley is growing and excitement is building around it.
     If our city leaders would like proof of the excitement and support, a trip to J.P. Hudson Recreation Park in Batesville this past weekend would have been a great place to find that proof.  J.P. Hudson played host to 62 teams in a Dizzy Dean Invitational Baseball and Softball tournament June 29th – July 1st (62 teams x $175 entry fee = $10,850 revenue generated for the park).   Several baseball teams represented Water Valley and three softball teams from Water Valley entered the three-day event.  Young girls, ranging in age from 7-15, played Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends each paid $4 per day to watch these athletes (62 teams with an average of 14 team members = 868 players; if only 1 person came to watch each of these players on all 3 days that equals $10,416 additional revenue).      And if you want to see excitement you should have been there about 10 p.m. Sunday evening when the 14-U team from Water Valley, coached by Shane Brown, was awarded the Championship trophy after entering tournament play as the fourth seed.  The 14-U team knocked off undefeated number one seed Senatobia 7-2 before out scoring the home team Batesville All-Stars 5-4 in the championship game.  Talk about excitement!  Congratulations girls!
     Further, I provided the revenue generating figures because I don’t understand why we are not currently hosting more tournaments at Crawford Sports Complex.  Sure, these numbers are gross revenue.  But once all of the tournament expenses are paid, the profit from just this one tournament greatly increased the operating funds for J.P. Hudson Park.  And that is not even taking into consideration the revenue generated from the sale of concessions, nor the impact local businesses felt due to the increase in the population of Batesville for 3 days.      
    Sunday evening, McDonalds had sold out of soft drinks!  The facilities at Crawford Sports Complex are some of the best in North Mississippi.  It is a shame that we are not taking advantage of what this facility can do for the growth of Magnolia Youth League.
     Softball in Water Valley is growing and improving.  There is going to be a field prepared for the girls to play on.  We may not have the support of the city.  However, judging from the telephone calls and comments I have received, we do have the support of the citizens and business leaders of Water Valley.  We’re going to build you a field, girls.  Just give us a little time. 
     Michelle Washington
    6753 County Road 436
    Water Valley, MS  38965
        Mother of two softball playing girls; one age 13 and one age 7. I’ll be supporting softball in WV for at least 11 more years.

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