It’s that time of year again - Little League is finally wrapping up in Nogales. The Intermediate Western Regional finished Monday night, with Hawaii as the victors. The Nogales Senior team fell in the Western Regional championship game in Sacramento and the local Majors team fell in the state tournament.
The only team still alive is the Junior team, which starts the Western Regional in Vancouver, Wash. Wednesday, Aug. 3.
As a non-Nogales native who moved to town last summer in the height of Little League frenzy, it’s so impressive just how much talent such a small town produces and that these teams make it as far as they do every year. That brings me to my point.
Nogales is a small town, where many families are challenged financially. Sending teams to the district, state, regional and occasional World Series tournaments proves costly. A lot of those funds are raised by the Nogales National Little League organization itself.
Through the concession stand, NNLL is able to provide uniforms for the players and umpires and help with travel costs, along with other expenses. If there are players on any team that end up traveling out of state and whose parents are facing financial hardships, money from the concession stand also goes to provide a meal allowance and to pay for a few souvenirs for the athlete and family.
Knowing that, I can’t help but wonder why more Nogalians didn’t show up to the multiple tournaments held here or why more didn’t volunteer to help at the concession stand. Hardly anyone went out to the senior softball state tournament. Granted, we didn’t have a team in it, but why not welcome the other teams and have dinner at a game?
I don’t have any kids, nor do I have any family here, so I don’t have any personal stake in Little League. But knowing how much baseball means to this community, I volunteered with concessions after work and on weekends during the tournament season. It’s not for the faint of heart - it can be really grueling work.
Nevertheless, please consider helping - either by volunteering or by going out to more of the games. Everything goes toward helping the children who participate in NNLL, who continuously make this town proud. After all, it’s for the kids.
(Gonzalez, a Texas native, is a reporter for the Nogales International.)