Sports complex equals heads in beds

Published 10:30 am Monday, June 11, 2018

By Bobby Tingle


Nothing gets parents spending money like their child competing in the arena.

The cash flow begins early. Some kiddos begin as early as four. Let’s see, Junior is born and four short years later he or she has advanced from diapers and formula, to pull-ups and table food, to sports gear in the arena.

Do you doubt me?

Go to and look at the rankings for Baseball Boys 4 and Under for any state in the union. There are nine ranked teams in Texas.

Granted, not many four year olds are donning the pads, gloves or cheer uniforms, but by the time they are seven or eight they are in their prime for youth sports.

The participation rate really amps up as the kids reach eight years old up to 12.

Of course, I am referring to ‘select’ leagues.

Teams which routinely compete in arenas down the road in Beaumont and Sulphur, could easily compete right here in Orange.

But we need a facility to attract them.

I am out of the youth league juggernaut. When I had eight to 12 year olds, I was in the thick of it.

We were involved in county participation leagues and select leagues. We never drove more than 150 miles to participate in a weekend tournament. But we did spend a good bit of money on entry fees, equipment, uniforms, hotel rooms and food in restaurants.

Southhaven and Horn Lake, Mississippi are like Orange, West Orange and Pinehurst. If you aren’t from here you don’t know which town you are in when you visit.

Both of these Mississippi municipalities had a sports complex. On any given weekend a dozen or more teams, with a dozen or more players, with a dozen or more parents showed up on Friday afternoon for the weekend.

They bought gas, sports drinks, bottled water, snacks, hamburgers, french fries and stayed in hotel rooms for two nights.

I bet some of the parents got their nails done.

We did baseball, soccer and swim meets. I suspect softball and soccer can bring home the bacon as well.

The City of Orange city council is considering hosting public forums to hear ideas on developing a sports complex in Orange according to a report in the June 2 edition of The Orange Leader.

We need an arena for youth sports ages 12 and under.

The opportunity for hosting youth sports participation and ‘select’ league events in multiple sports is before us.

It is an opportunity worth pursuing. We should figure it out and move forward.


Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. You can reach him at