Little League baseball has once again begun in Denver Harbor. Selena Park is serving as the epicenter for young and old alike looking to shake off the freezing winter, take in the Sun, and get involved in community events for another year. We were able to speak to Amber Vela; One of the mothers who stepped up to the plate and decided to help coach the Tiny Tee team. Amber is a single mother of three who has lived in Denver Harbor for most of her life. She spoke to us about how she got involved, the skills she feels baseball provides for children, and what changes she’s noticed in our neighborhood.
1. You are coaching Tiny Tee for the Denver Harbor Little League. Is this your first time coaching a team?
Yes, this is my first time coaching. I've been trying to get my daughter to play with no luck for the last 2 years. Now, my middle son is finally old enough.
2. What made you decide to coach this year?
The coaching job came along at the last minute. I volunteered to assist with the draft, but they still needed another coach and assistant coach. I thought it would be a great experience for my son and I to go through together, so I just went with it.
3. Tiny Tee is for 4 year olds. What kinds of things do you practice with them?
Since they're still so young, you have to take advantage of the 45 minutes to an hour long span off attention that they are going to give you. Every practice consists of the basics, like running bases, proper stance for hitting the ball, and trying to throw the ball to each other’s general area without having to run after it or get hit with it.
4. Can you tell us about a memorable experience so far?
When we first started practicing, I had a player who I would tell to run as soon as they'd hit the ball...and he took off running around the whole field instead of the bases. It was cute!
5. Many people know that being involved in different sports has the potential to build skills in kids. What skills & experiences do you think stand out most about kids involved in baseball?
[I think] what will stand out the most about these kids is their ability to show how great of a team player they are. Also, as they get older they tend to show much more determination and integrity in different situations that they are faced with in their daily lives. Although I'm no expert, I've seen these traits in relatives and friends who played growing up, versus those who did not.
5. What has been the hardest part of being involved with the Little League for you?
There are too many politics involved. It ends up putting stress on everyone. The focus should be on the kids; giving them something constructive to spend their time on that they can also enjoy.
6. When is practice? Where can we find a game schedule?
Although we don't have an official game schedule yet, Tiny Tee games will be on Saturday mornings. Our practices are Sundays at noon, Tuesday & Wednesday at 6pm, and Saturdays at 10am.
7. You have children of your own. Are they involved with the DH Little League as well? Have you gotten them involved in other events at the Park or around the City?
This will be the first extracurricular activity outside of school that my kids are involved in.
8. Lastly, you grew up in this neighborhood. What things that have changed or are changing stand out to you? What can you say about these changes?
Yes, I've pretty much lived here my whole life, and although my parents tried to shelter me from the reality of what went on in this neighborhood, they even sent me to schools across town, but they weren't able to keep it all from me. I've got to say that from what I see now, there has been a dramatic improvement from my school age years. I clearly remember being awakened regularly to the sound of gun shots in the middle of the night; seeing fights breaking out at the parks were treated as no big deal. I drive around here quite a bit, as much of my family resides here, and I see nothing more than kids walking home from school. I'm relieved cause my own kids are attending school in the neighborhood.
Seeing so many people out working together to benefit our children is a very encouraging site to see. It caused me to recall that communities that are made up of Raza carry with them the ancient things passed down by our ancestors- Communal working, communication, and knowing that at the end of the day, the work we do has to be work that impacts our kids positively- even maybe on a subconscious level. I learned that the key to the Tiny Tee strategy is to teach the babies the fundamentals of the game and build from there. Can’t go wrong building from the ground up!
We at ourDHstreets wish Amber all the luck for this season & look forward to bringing you more stories from the Little League, the people involved, and about the streets in general- of course!
Denver Harbor Little League OPENING DAY!
Opening Day Parade and Games!!!! Parade Starts 9am on Lyons (near Palmers) to Lathrop to Market to circle the park and end at DH Gym...parking will be crazy so get there early...we expect alot of people...ball games will begin at 11am...guest speakers include Hon. Congressman Gene Green, and others...bring the kids, grandparents everyone. We willl have Turkey legs, Sausage on a Stick plus many other goodies...come join the fun and celebration!
To RSVP on Facebook, Click here.