What do the stickers say?

This afternoon in the rain I was scraping a sticker off of the back window of my van. As I was pulling the faded broken pieces off, I thought about my opinion on stickers decorating cars and how it might be considered controversial.

My opinion on stickers began years ago when my kids were playing Little League baseball and softball. I loved Little League and all it represented. I loved that everyone could play, that there were no try-outs so everyone could make a team. Our kids were 5 and 6, just playing T- Ball. We made it to the fields, practiced and played and they got a free pop at the concession stand after every game. My kids’ favorite was the “home run” flavor when they mixed all of the flavors together. It was simple.

As we parked our cars, I began noticing cars and their stickers. “Broncos Baseball,” “Wizards,” “Hurricane Softball, “Klash,” “Rebels.” What were these? I was totally unfamiliar with these teams and their stickers. Later I came to find out that these were the travel teams for baseball and softball. I did not even know what a travel team was. Didn’t the kids play enough during little league? Practices and 2 games a week seemed like enough. Why did they need more?

I soon learned that for many of the players that participated in Little League, it was not enough. The recreational nature of this organization was not always though of as having a high enough compitition level for their child. They wanted more so they signed up with the travel teams….and got a sticker.

The travel teams had different philosophies. Some were termed “Little League Friendly” allowing the players to continue little league play and doing the travel games on the weekends. Others wanted exclusivity. No little league.

I loved and love little league. I love the community spirit. Playing with friends and classmates- people from your neighborhood. Travel takes people from all over so there is not a home base. Little League offers an “All-Star” tourney that goes to the state level. Each community sends the best of their league to compete with other little leagues. This tourney at the very roots, is the spirit of community, all the communities throughout their state. We were district 2.

So the stickers on all the cars represented the elite. Those people who had the money to buy a spot on a team. There was a team for anyone who wanted one and if there was not, you just created another one. I do understand that it is a place to extend the season for kids who love to play. My children played on travel teams, but I refused to put on the sticker. Turns out they changed teams almost yearly anyway. The travel was an add on, not the main event.

So now back to my van and scraping off stickers. Tonight I am making room for a new sticker. I was scraping off a faded High School Hockey sticker. My son has graduated and is off at college. My daughter is playing her 3rd year of High School Varsity Softball.  She still plays travel, but that is an add on.

I will proudly put her high school sticker on my van. After 3 years we finally had beautiful stickers made. It is the community that fuels my daughter’s play. Her community remains her main event. It is my main event too.

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