A few months back, I started hearing rumblings of a movement in Ballinger and it was the creation of the Ballinger Youth Sports Association.

A few months back, I started hearing rumblings of a movement in Ballinger and it was the creation of the Ballinger Youth Sports Association.

And, a few weeks back, Ballinger Police Chief Stan Maresch stopped by to tell me a little bit about it.

The idea is to make sure we keep youth sports local. The Ballinger Youth Sports Association combines baseball, softball, soccer, football, cheerleading and basketball.

Last fall, Ken Manley started the flag football program for kids from kindergarten through sixth grade. It was such a success, folks asked Manley to come back and help with basketball. And this was really a success.

“We had teams from Winters, Bronte, Paint Rock, and Wall,” Maresch said. “During basketball we had teams from Christoval and Big Lake.”

And the Ballinger ISD helped too. On any given Saturday, if you drove by the high school, it was not unusual to see a packed parking lot, with families from all over the area coming to Ballinger to watch their kiddos play.

In the fall, during football, it was not unusual to see 200-300 people on the field. Likewise, during basketball, just as many attended those games

And now, it’s baseball season.

City Manager Bryan Grimes said this is great for Ballinger. As a dad, he like so many others in the area, were having to travel to San Angelo on Saturdays for youth sports. Now, the push is to bring it home.

And, it is good for everyone and the entire economy of Runnels County.

Grimes explained when it became clear to him that youth sports in Ballinger was a win- win.

“The chair that hit me over the head was when a group of kids from Anson were playing baseball here,” he recalled.

Grimes, knows a few folks from Anson, since he was the city manager there before coming to Ballinger.

So that Saturday, Anson folks were calling him to see where to go eat and shop.

“That night, a dad from Anson texted me and told me I owed him lunch,” Grimes quipped. “He said it was because his wife just spent $600 in our shops. That was the ‘aha’ moment for me.”

That family would not have come to Ballinger if it weren’t for youth sports. Fortunately, Ballinger has restaurants and shopping and every dollar spent helps this community thrive.

The city is working with Ballinger ISD to rehab the old soccer field, so that can get going again.

There is a lack of practice fields for baseball and softball, and the city is looking to help with that too, by recently approving a request to clean up Indian Field.

But as with all endeavors on the local level, it takes support from the community and that is happening too.

The BYSA is seeking sponsorships to help pay for uniforms, equipment, banners and to assist with the overall expenses of the organization.

If you are interested in getting involved, get in touch with BYSA President Larry Lancaster at 325-262-2547 or Vice President DeeDee Peterson at 325-718-8428.

And as always, if you have a story to tell, an event to promote or just want to visit, you can find me, just around the corner.

Celinda Hawkins is the managing editor of the the Runnels County Register and may be reached at the office at 325-365-3501 or via email at chawkins@ballingerledger.com.