STOP CHILDREN FROM LOSING A YEAR OF BASEBALL!
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ISSUE: The Board of Directors for Pony Baseball in Pennsylvania has passed a rule which will move the cut-off date to determine the age for all players from April 30 to August 31. The effect of this is that all players who are born between these two dates will skip ahead an age group next year (2018) –effectively taking away a year of baseball from these children. This will impact one third of all children in Pony Baseball. Little League baseball has passed a similar rule and it appears that Pony is following them. The one difference is that Little League has a grandfather clause for those children who are turning 12 next year.
THE PONY BOARD’S REASONING: By the time the Pony National Tournament is over each summer, approximately one third of the children have had a birthday making them older than the designated age. This is a quote from the Board, “The Board felt it was important to re-align the age cut-off date to insure that all players with in a two year age division were all within the defined age interval, i.e. Pinto 7-8, Mustang 9-10, Bronco 11-12, Pony 13-14, Colt 15-16 and Palomino 17-18, not only for the regular season but sanctioned tournament play as well.”
COUNTER ARGUMENT: Pony baseball supports all levels of skill, not just “All Stars”. Perhaps, 25% of children make All Star teams and perhaps one third have had a birthday by the end of World Series (in which very few children participate). In order to fix a problem very few people feel like is a problem, an estimated 100,000 children will lose a season of baseball. Further, due to the fact that in many parts of the country baseball is played year-round, many of these children have developed some of their strongest and most important relationships with those in their age groups - not just with friends, but also adults – who can provide vital role models in children’s lives. This is a special benefit to the ritual of baseball due to the amount of time spent together. This negatively affects not just children who are directly impacted by the rule, but also children who remain in their age group as both friends and coaches will “skip ahead”.
ALTERNATIVE PROPOSAL: If it is important to the Pony Board to eliminate children being older than the designated age group by the time the World Series takes place, then this can be accomplished by changing the age group as children enter the Pony system either as they enter Shetland or Pinto. This would make it so no children will lose a year of baseball and the strong baseball bonds do not need to be broken.
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