DEMING – City officials have made it clear… There is zero tolerance for bad behavior and unsportsmanlike conduct at youth baseball and softball games in city parks.
Responding to reports of fights, threats, unsportsmanlike conduct and disrespect for referees and league officials, Deming City Director of Community Services Alexi Jackson spoke at the a public meeting to address issues and concerns on Wednesday at the “Pit” Park amphitheater in Les Voiers. The meeting was attended by over 200 people, mostly parents, league officials and coaches.
Wednesday’s game schedule at the EJ Hooten Recreation Complex and the Lloyd Pratz Recreation Complex has been canceled to allow those involved to attend the meeting.
Jackson told the audience, “We’re not here to punish anyone or kick players out. We are here to bring this under control and end bad behavior for the sake of children. That’s why we’re here – for the kids.
Jackson opened the floor to the public and answered questions and concerns regarding the Deming Little League at the Hooten Complex and the Deming T-Ball Association at the Pratz Complex. Both resorts have had their share of unruly behavior in the past, but Jackson and some parents have expressed concern over the escalating incidents in front of young players.
Jackson has made it clear that bad behavior will not be tolerated, and city officials and the Deming Police Department will have a physical presence at parks to ensure games are for children.
“If we see incidents of misbehavior, one or more people will be asked to leave the park that day, and depending on the severity of the behavior, they may not be allowed to return for the remainder of the season,” said Jackson.
For the most part, parents, coaches and league officials were okay with keeping the peace and seeing the games as they are meant to be. “Games should be fun for kids and a learning experience that will guide them into the future,” Jackson told the audience. “Most of these kids will never play ball in high school.”
Deming T-Ball manager Rosa Holguin said her main concern is with fans targeting referees. “Coaches have to take control of their parents and their fans. Coaches can lead by example during games and practices.
A manager noted that the shortage of referees in the leagues is the result of harassment and threats from fans. Officiating a match should be a volunteer position. Referees can learn the rules online and be better equipped to make calls. The main thing is that they are the authority in the field. Players see the actions of their coaches and take note of them.
Jackson assured the public that leagues and fans would not be excluded from city parks. Games will resume and seasons will be saved with the cooperation of parents, league officials, city officials and Deming police.
Deming Little League baseball and softball are played at Hooten Park and Deming T-Ball and Coach-Pitch baseball and softball are played at Pratz Park.
Bill Armendariz can be reached at 575-494-5059 or [email protected]