Air quality: I am really concerned about this and the health advisories. Why aren't you cancelling the games when there's a risk? Don't you care about the health of my child?
Context: In June 2023, due to numerous forest fires, there was a noted deterioration of the quality of the air we all breathe and we began monitoring the situation and the recommendations from local authorities.
Our advisement to participants in our program about play on a given day was posted on the homepage of our website and updated throughout the day. As people have different tolerances and health issues/concerns, the decision on whether to participate (or not) was left up to each individual family --- as it always is for every one of our scheduled events. This means that those who wish to play, and are comfortable doing so, have the opportunity to play. (For a couple of days in June 2023, a few local sporting events that involve more strenuous activity and/or considerable advance preparation, did get cancelled but none of the local T-Ball, softball or baseball groups took such action.)
What do we do in the event of rain? Are games cancelled? How/when will we know if our game is cancelled?
Our website will have the current game status on the home page: (i) Game On, (ii) Still to be decided or, (iii) Cancelled
We'll be monitoring the forecast and radar weather throughout the day and update the game status.
Everyone affected by a cancellation will be notified by email and/or the Team App.
If playing conditions are unknown an hour before the scheduled game time, the decision on playing a particular game will be made at the diamond at game time by those involved.
Such decisions are on an individual game basis as often one diamond may be playable while another is deemed not to be by those at the actual game site.
IF the City cancels the permits --- by 3 pm --- then all games/events are cancelled for the affected sites for that day. This is usually based on the anticipated field conditions that will exist at game time for a particular location. We monitor the City site and get notified if any of our scheduled events are affected. After 3 pm, we make our own decisions as noted above.
Summary, we try and play whenever possible!
What equipment does my child need?
UPDATED for 2023: We provide all the required equipment to each team so no player needs their own helmet, bat, fielder's mask nor (for 3-Pitch players) catcher's gear. Such equipment is shared as necessary by team members in need of such. So, with the exception of a fielding glove*, we provide everything needed for participation. *We also have an inventory of gloves available, by request, for loan (for the season) to individual players who don't have their own. Note: No gloves are required for Blastball, T-Ball is played with a 9" diameter soft-core baseball (beginner/basic baseball glove), 3-Pitch is played with an 11" regulation softball (glove suitable for softball).
Players should have closed shoes suitable for running, i.e. running shoes -- not sandals, flip flops, nor bare feet. We recommend that participants wear long pants when playing.
What's the plan for the 2023 ball season?
We are planning to play starting as early in May (May 1 is our permit date) as possible with programs similar to our "pre-pandemic" offerings and ending by June 27. Specifics on any modifications to the procedures and any resultant rule changes will be posted on the website and all participants will be notified of such. All participants (players, parents, volunteers, spectators, officials) are required to abide by safety protocols and teams may also enforce their own additional measures. Compliance with mandated protocols is not optional. Each team should have an adult volunteer responsible for health and safety. Senior T-Ball and all 3-Pitch teams are also required to have another volunteer to supervise sportsmanship.
What if the 2023 season ends up getting cancelled? How do I get a refund?
We are proceeding based on the 2023 season proceeding as promoted. IF things take a turn for the worse and regulations prohibit us from offering a viable program, participants will be offered a full refund (without penalty). Such a turn would, most likely, also result in most other children's recreational activities being canceled. Cancellation part-way through our "official" season will be reviewed at that time and could involve "extending" the season as we did in 2022.
What time do the games start?
All games (except those scheduled for play on Saturday) start at 6:30 pm. Saturday games start at 9:00 am.
What days do you schedule games?
Teams generally have two games scheduled each week. Actual game days vary each week but are scheduled within any the playing day parameters provided on the registration forms. During weeks affected by holidays, i.e. Victoria Day in May, some teams may only have 1 game on their schedule.
My child wants to play but the registration fee is a barrier for us at this time. What can I do?
We don't turn any child away. You should complete the registration paperwork online and check off one of the options (e.g. cash) for payment later. We encourage you to apply for assistance to an agency such as JumpStart. You can then confirm your funding status with us. Unless you are getting funding from an outside source, e.g. JumpStart, we ask that you visit us at one of our in-person registration/information sessions to make financial arrangements which could include paying what you can afford (as you can afford to do so). We get funding through the Kitchener Sports Association and accept donations from other participants so we don't have to turn anyone away for financial reasons.
We have a page on our website that deals with Fee Assistance: http://www.stanleyparkoptimist.com/content/fee-assistance
I was wondering how much I would have to pay if I received any subsidized funding? As a single mom, money is very tight right now but my child is excited to start playing ball again.
We do offer payments terms and subsidized registration fees to ensure that everyone who wants to play gets to play and enjoy the experience. To help us "stretch our dollars further", we do encourage those in need of financial assistance to apply to a funding agency such as JumpStart. We also encourage that you contact the City of Kitchener and apply for the City's Leisure Access Program which provides funding for City programs such as swimming lessons. (While our program is not eligible for funding from the City program itself, the acceptance criteria are the same as for Canadian Tire's Jump Start Program and Jump Start does cover registrations in our program.) Regardless of funding assistance obtained from outside sources (e.g. JumpStart, House of Friendship, OutReach, etc.), we won't hold up your registration awaiting payment but do ask that you pay what you can afford --- when you can afford it --- if an agency is not covering the registration cost. (Jump Start: https://jumpstart.canadiantire.ca)
In support of our Fee-assistance Program we, in turn, receive funding from the Kitchener Sports Association to ensure that everyone gets to play! In addition, we maintain an inventory of loaner gloves and provide each team with helmets, masks and bats so there's no equipment required for your child to own to be able to play and play safely.
We have a page on our website that deals with Fee Assistance: http://www.stanleyparkoptimist.com/content/fee-assistance
How do I ensure my child will be on the same team as his/her friend(s)?
Specify the names of any friends in the space provided for such on the registration form. (We only require the name(s) not explanations -- and proper/correct full names work best!) Note that making more than one or two requests is often not possible especially if the others also have made requests to be with others. Mutual requests work best as playing day preferences have to be given priority. Advice: Check with the other player to confirm he/she is actually registering with us, which league they are registering in and whether they have any playing day restrictions. (Requests from bonafide coaches carry a lot of weight!) Once teams are set, our capability to honour requests is limited to spaces that are still open.
For a child born in 2018, with little or no playing experience, which league is better: Blastball or Junior T-Ball?
For our 2023 season, yes you have the option of either Blastball or Junior T-Ball. Your question of which one is best is impossible for anyone to answer definitively but here are some things to consider:
Your child would be one of the oldest in Blastball or one of the youngest in Junior T-Ball. None of the children in either league will have much, if any, playing experience as there hasn't been much play for the last three years. Both leagues are all at the introductory level but Junior T-Ball does involve all 3 bases, positional fielding and is much closer to the "real" game even though there is no scoring. (Blastball only involves one base so no base running but does present more opportunity to bat.) Complete league descriptions are on this website.
That said, the biggest consideration is what your child's friends, classmates and/or neighbours are doing. If he/she has a friend who's registering, then that could be the deciding factor. (Friend request should be mutual and not have conflicting playing day requests.) Kids like to play, at least initially, with known friends even though they'll meet many more during the season.
Also, your child may be able to provide more guidance regarding their preferred level of play.
My son was born a few days after the cut-off date for Blastball. Is there any way you could make an exception so he can play this year?
While it is great to hear of your interest in our program for your son, we cannot extend our cut-off date any further than it already is.
No matter what the date is, there are always those who are just a few days too young and making exceptions has not proven to be beneficial for the others in the program.
Please find an activity geared to your son's age group with others of that age.
Hopefully we'll see you both next year --- and he'll still be younger than the average age in our Blastball league.
My son's birthday puts him in the youngest year of Senior 3-Pitch. He would like to play but has very little experience. Is this a league that accepts players without any previous formal baseball experience?
YES. Play in all of our leagues is at the recreational level and everyone is "learning the game" while meeting new people as well as playing with existing friends.
We emphasize fair play and safety while ensuring that everyone gets to experience play at all positions. We don't turn anyone away who wants to play,
My son has no playing experience and is now of age for Senior 3-Pitch, beyond the defined age bracket for Junior 3-Pitch by one year. Can you make an exception and have him enrol in Junior 3-Pitch?
The question about "holding a child back" because of a concern about lack of playing experience is asked fairly frequently, and not just at the 3-Pitch level.
No, we do not break our defined age brackets to allow children to play in a league geared for younger children. From previous experience, it has proven to be of no benefit to the child concerned as he/she is now playing with children up to 4 years younger --- average age 2+ years younger. The kids learn the game fairly quickly help each other, and enjoy the experience more when they are part of "the group" rather than being a focus as a special exception.
There are many other factors involved other than an initial lack of playing experience. Some of the other main ones include: maturity, size, coordination and strength. It can cause issues with the parents of other players in the league if older players are allowed to play. It can also become a safety issue.
From experience then, the best course is for players to participate with others of the same age. Developing skills is the only factor that we (parents and coaches) really have any control over and all participants are part of that process. That said, if there is a player of exceptional playing ability we do allow (sometimes urge) him/her to "move up" a league so they can continue to develop their playing skills in a safe environment for everyone.
We always have numerous "inexperienced" players and, with the hiatus (2+ years) in sports play due to Covid, already have more than usual first-timers. They'll learn the game together --- and our focus is to ensure that they all enjoy the experience!
I have a 5 and 3 year old, hoping for Tball and Blastball - Will they always be on different diamonds/locations? Will playing times vary as well?
You can specify that you don't want your children to have games at the same time. All our games are scheduled to be played at Franklin School/Park and Midland Park. Evening games are 6:30 pm starts while any Saturday games start at 9:00 am. Length of the individual games is affected by weather conditions and is determined by the coaches of each team. More information on this, playing day preferences, friend requests, etc. is on the website.
I registered already but now want to change my playing day preferences; also my child has a friend request to add. What should I do?
The person who completed the registration form can make additions/corrections any time up to when the organizational meetings are held. Send an email to us (Ball@stanleyparkoptimist.com) with the request details and don't forget to include both your name, contact # and the player's full name.
What's the last date I can register to play?
Registering early is always recommended, especially if you have playing day restrictions or "friend" requests. Once April hits, the number of teams in each league has already been established so the number of roster spots is limited. These are then filled on a first-come basis. As leagues fill up, we employ a waiting list in case of withdrawals. Late fees apply in late March (March 28/2023) for any spots that are still open.) Once the team photos are taken in the first 2 weeks of the season, the online registration system is formally shut down for all leagues. (Warning: Registration for specific leagues usually closes well before the photo dates.)
How many teams are there?
The number of teams in each league is determined by the number of children registered to play by the end of March. The exact number varies from league to league and from year to year but recently (pre-Covid) we've had 10 to 16 Blastball teams, 12 to 16 Junior T-Ball teams, 6 to 8 Senior T-Ball teams, and 5 to 8 teams in each of our 3-Pitch leagues; total 44 to 54 teams. 2023 will be a "recovery" year as we build back to a new "normal" so are expecting to field approximately 40 teams (up from the 31 fielded in 2022).