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Kudos all around

Kudos and congratulations all around to our Dixie ball teams this season, five of which made World Series appearances.

The South Boston Dixie Majors all-stars, Halifax American Darlings, Halifax County Dixie Junior Boys, South Boston American O-Zone and Halifax National Angels X-Play all-star teams represented the Commonwealth of Virginia in splendid fashion at their respective World Series, with each team winning at least one game.

Two of them finished with 2-2 records, and that is an accomplishment considering the level of competition they face.

For instance, the Dixie Majors had to contend with several teams made up primarily of collegiate baseball players.

Not that our team didn’t have a few college-level players, but going against teams stacked with four or five current college pitchers moonlighting as Dixie players is hard to handle.

At the opposite end of the scale, our American Darlings, much like all of our Dixie all-star teams had to contend with programs that draw from areas much larger than Halifax County, sometimes areas including a number of counties.

One manager relayed to me a conversation he had with an opposing manager at a Dixie Softball Angels World Series game a couple of years ago.

He was shocked but not terribly surprised when he found out his opponents had played upwards of 75 games as a team the past year.

Essentially, our girls were up against a travel team masquerading as Dixie all-stars, and that’s become all too commonplace these days.

I have nothing against travel teams, the girls and boys work just as hard, learn just as much, have just as much fun and have just as much passion for the game as their Dixie counterparts.

Dixie softball and Dixie baseball, at their core, are recreational sports that provide an opportunity for each child to participate, including those who have no desire to further their careers at the middle school, high school or collegiate level.

Travel teams are sometimes pay-for-play propositions designed for athletes who take their games more seriously and have a desire to play at the high school and collegiate level in some cases.

There is room for both of them, but, in my humble opinion, not at the same World Series.

We have a rich tradition in both sports here in Halifax County, with South Boston being a birthplace of Dixie Youth Baseball.

Halifax County also had one of the original Dixie Softball franchises and has the distinction of being the longest continually operating franchise of any in the Dixie Softball network.

Halifax-South Boston Dixie Softball owns three World Series championships and some of our Dixie baseball teams have come close to bringing home a championship trophy, and much of their success has come despite going up against teams with vastly more resources and talent pools.

Championships are nice, but no less prestigious in my mind are the Sportsmanship Awards given out at Dixie softball and baseball state tournaments and World Series, and I know of no greater honor than our Dixie Softball Darlings American all-stars winning the Sportsmanship Award at their recent World Series.

Continue to do things the right way, ladies and gentlemen. You make our county proud.