Another unfortunate result of the current health crisis affecting the KC Royals is the temporary closing of the Kansas City MLB Urban Academy.
While the safety of people in our neighborhoods, towns, states, country, and world are high priority, it has been weird thinking about a world without sports for the time being. Especially baseball. This is America’s game after all. What else says spring is here and gets us through the summer but the crack of the bat, checking statistics and cheering on our KC Royals?
One news release that caught my attention was that the Kansas City MLB Urban Academy (KCUYA), like countless other organizations, is suspending activities indefinitely. That snapped me back from feeling sorry for myself. One awesome thing about baseball is passing it down to the next generation. Playing catch with your children, nieces, nephews, neighborhood kids, or anyone that wants to pick up a baseball.
The KCUYA is one of only eight around the country affiliated with MLB. City leaders, Royals GM Dayton Moore, and many others helped to open this gem in March of 2018. Its goal is to give under-served children between the ages of 6-18 not only baseball and softball opportunities but also assists with academic and social skills.
According to their website, it is a top-notch facility with multiple outdoor turf fields, an education press box and 38,000 square foot indoor facility. There are also batting tunnels, a training room and four classrooms.
The shutdown is completely understandable and necessary with the risks at hand. It is sad to think about the student-athletes participating in the program unable to spend time developing their baseball and life skills. KCUYA is also a non-profit which means any negative turns in the economy could affect the donations received to give the youth a chance to grow into leaders.
“Everything will center around instruction and making it a fun place where kids want to come [say] ‘I want to experience something new. I want to be able to try the game.’ It’s not about the elite tournaments or anything everybody has already been doing. We want to make sure we get back to a grass roots sandlot style of baseball.” – Darwin Pennye, Executive Director kshb.com
I know there are programs in other cities that also have foundations dedicated to teaching the great game of baseball to those who may not otherwise be able to play. Most rely on donations of not only money but equipment and invaluable people who give up their time to pass along skills and give kids a positive role model in their lives.
The next several weeks would be a great opportunity to spend more time with your kids and kids in your community. If you have the means to give money and/or supplies to KCUYA or your local baseball group dedicated to giving youth a chance to play baseball/softball, please do so. Volunteer your time if that fits into your schedule.
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Yes, we are deprived of KC Royals baseball for the time being but we have many chances to turn this into positive interactions and bring up a new generation of fans. Do not let it slip by.