Any time change occurs, there are lessons to be learned and alternative viewpoints to consider. In light of the recent Hooksett Little League rule changes there have been lessons learned and I have directed the Board to thoughtfully consider and weigh all viewpoints, even if they disagreed. I am happy and proud to report that this dialogue has been respectful and EVERYONE has appreciated all views. From parents to kids to coaches to Board Members the discussion has been productive. As President, I find that gratifying. No one disputes the goal of improved player safety.
There are times when a position is unpopular. There are times when a position becomes difficult. There are times when a position provides an opportunity to listen, learn and ultimately grow as an organization. This is one of those times.
The simple facts are these:
1. The League committed to purchase all new batting helmets, cages, and defensive fielding masks for 100% of the teams involved in kid pitched divisions
2. The League unanimously voted that mandated use is the best path
Nothing in the past two weeks of discussions, coaches meetings, and parent meetings changes those facts. With all of that said, the simple truth is that in order to mandate use, the League MUST be able to supply 100% of the equipment to 100% of the teams. Our equipment director and local supplier have worked tirelessly and diligently in their attempts to get the equipment in our hands; however, the manufacturers have been unable to meet our deadline; therefore 100% of the equipment is not in the hands of 100% of the teams.
Where does that leave us?
All purchased equipment will continue to be delivered to the team level as it comes in. At this time, players may avail themselves of the equipment currently on hand; however, use of the equipment cannot be mandated until all of the equipment is available. The Board strongly encourages its use until that time and several teams are committed to using what they have and the Board supports that unequivocally.
We will phase in the remaining equipment throughout this season and incorporate it into our off season training with an eye towards a more measured roll out in 2016.
Our intentions have always been pure of heart and thought and the commitment we have to player safety has not wavered. I want everyone to know that I have appreciated every phone call, email and chance to discuss this issue.