By DAVID HUNTER
The 2016 Cannon County Dixie Youth Association season started with Opening Day on April 9 at the Cannon County Youth Baseball and Softball Complex. There were 20 youth baseball teams and seven youth softball teams taking part in the event on a sunny but chilly morning.
Even though, it was windy and cold, the atmosphere for the upcoming season was cool. Most of the parents of the players and coaches made their first appearance of the season as each of them were treated like Major Leaguers.
What made this event special was each team in each division was introduced to the huge crowd in attendance with their own theme music with all of the players announced in a special ceremony. Following the ceremony, a home run derby was held and the six T-Ball teams played their opening game of the season with the Riverdogs facing the Blue Wahoos, the Hot Rods hosting the Grasshoppers and the Rattlers taking on the Raptors.
"It was good to see everybody in front of the community, and see everybody out here to support us," Blue Wahoos T-Ball Head Coach Derrick Mullins said. "It was a real good turnout, and I was glad the kids got to do that."
All of the players and coaches were excited about the start of the campaign.
"We are very excited, because last year we finished second in the league, and we brought back every player we had. We added three more girls that are going to help us tremendously," 14U Softball Firecrackers Head Coach Jeff Todd said. "They are excited to see how much they have improved and how far they can go."
What makes the CCDYA great is how the coaches, who volunteer their time and effort, not only teach the players how to play on the diamond better, but also important life lessons down the road. Each of the coaches experience fun with the game and it means a lot to them to give back to the sport they love. It is competitive, but the players and coaches also know how to have fun, too.
"I look at coaching as teaching," Todd said. "I love to teach whether its literature or teaching softball, I have fun. It is one of the highlights of my day being on the field teaching these girls how to play softball."