Third time’s the charm for Front Royal Little League’s Opening Day

The third attempt to hold its opening day proved to be the charm for the determined Front Royal Little League last Sunday at Joe Lund Field.

After the leagues’ first two attempts were rained out, the weather finally relented and the league celebrated its 67th year in style on a beautiful and hot late April day.
The original opening day was scheduled for Saturday, April 22, and the rescheduled date, April 29, also was rained out despite a delay in hopes of waiting out the thunderstorms.

As many players, coaches, volunteers, parents and fans gathered at the field Saturday, the skies opened up for about 30 minutes, turning the field into swamp and forcing the cancellation of the ceremony.

By 11 a.m., the sun emerged, seemingly to taunt the disappointed people who had gathered for the big day.

Undeterred, league officials tried again on Sunday. This time, the weather cooperated.

“It was disappointing to cancel the opening day more than anything,” Front Royal Little League President Karen Patton said. “You work so hard to get stuff ready and you really look forward to opening day ... we get to see all our kids together on the field and celebrate their accomplishments, so it’s really a special time.”

The league has 372 kids registered and playing on 30 different teams.

The FRLL has had to cancel opening days in the past due to the weather, but this year Patton and her group of dedicated volunteers simply wouldn’t accept that as an option.

“This is my first opening day in 10 years where we had to hold it on a Sunday, so I was worried people wouldn’t show,” Patton said. “But we had to take into consideration our older kids’ Little League schedule [for next Saturday]. If we would have done it then, they would have missed it.”

Patton said the league is used to all of the hard work required for opening day, saying it’s always a lot of work no matter the time of the season.

“We are kind of used to it,” Patton said. “We have a few really dedicated volunteers and some great new ones who really helped pull everything together — even if it took us three tries."

“All in all, it wasn’t a perfect typical Opening Day, but sometimes you just have to roll with it. I did see a lot of families spend the day together, kids running all over and lots of laughs, so in the end it worked out.”

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