News Detail

18

May, 2020

Message from KLL Board

TO KEARNEY LITTLE LEAGUERS AND LITTLE LEAGUE SUPPORTERS:

Thank you for your patience as we navigate through uncharted territory.  Your Kearney LL Board of

Directors has been diligent in evaluating reasonable options for our league this year.  We held our second board meeting in May on the 18th and we have reached some important conclusions.

As you are probably aware, on May 11th Governor Ricketts announced a limited resumption of youth baseball and softball, with some wise and significant restrictions and limitations.  After reviewing these carefully the Kearney LL Board of Directors has determined, in a unanimous vote, that we do not have the capacity to offer a successful program this summer – and so we are going to have to forego our regular operations in 2020. 

In making this announcement we want to express our appreciation to the City of Kearney and its Park & Recreation Department for their strenuous efforts at trying to help make it possible for us to put on a season.  Much work was done in trying to facilitate a Kearney LL season, and the City stood with us shoulder to shoulder at every step while we were trying to find a way.

To a person, every board member wishes that we were sharing better news.  Our strong desire to find a way to offer some kind – any kind – of baseball program this summer was outweighed by both the restrictions and the continuing risks.  At younger ages, for example, it simply is not possible to do what we do without close contact between coaches and players.  Even at older ages, the restrictions pose big challenges.  On top of that is the fact that every night we would be putting at risk both our young players, our mostly young adult-aged umpires and, importantly, our valued volunteer managers and coaches both young and old.  The idea that someone could unknowingly return to Kearney and one of our diamonds with an asymptomatic case of the coronavirus, and accidently infect one of our players or volunteers, was a very uncomfortable risk and one that our board weighed with careful consideration.

One of the things we have learned over the years is that Kearney LL is more about community than it is about anything else.  While it does not feel good having an entire summer without a single Little League game, we now have an “asterisk” year in our league’s history.  For over six decades, from 1952 to 2019, Kearney LL games have been a highlight of Kearney’s summers, and from 2021 forward we expect that history to continue.  Thankfully, we are happy to report that Kearney LL remains very strong… we have an active and growing population of Little League-age players in our community; we have a large and active board of directors with expertise in all the right areas; we have always had a great corps of volunteers to help with the heavy lifting – although we can always use more(!); we have a group of dedicated businesses who see the value Little League provides to our community and contribute to our success very generously; and we have a proud and storied history of success at the highest levels of competition – including State Championships in nine of the last ten years, and even a trip to the Little League World Series during that span – a feat never before or since accomplished by any other Nebraska league.

Once our decision was made to cancel the 2020 season, our attention turned to some of the other important questions.  First, with regard to player registrations, while some leagues around the country are requiring a refund request, and an option to roll over registration fees to the 2021 season, Kearney LL has decided to simply refund all registration fees for the year.  Whether you paid online via a card or came to the Live Registration event and paid by cash or check, look for your refund within the next couple of weeks.  Card account credits will show up on your statement, and all others will receive a check.  The refund amount will be for the $70 registration, but will not include any processing fees ($2 or $3) that were added if you paid by card.  Our donor/sponsors will soon receive a letter from Nick Autry, our Sponsorship Coordinator, and will be given a range of options including full refunds for those who would like.

Finally, we want to say thank you, for all of your support - this year especially and also in past years.  The Kearney youth baseball community is special, and blessed, and provides not just the participating youths and their families, but nearly our entire community with a bright spot in the summer.  Whether your role is that of a player, umpire, a volunteer manager or coach, a sponsoring supporter, or a fan, your board is grateful for everything you do that contributes to Kearney’s youth baseball environment.  Look forward to a much better year for baseball in 2021 – we expect it to be the best one yet!

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