Hi everyone! So, I was walking around one day at a softball tournament my daughter was playing in and I started talking to parents around the field. Some of our, and some of girls playing on different teams competing in the tournament. I noticed VERY quickly that a common theme was emerging amongst us parents……All our money is going towards softball! Everything from gloves, cleats, registration, pants, food, lodging, gas, and especially bats; were draining everyone’s accounts. And that’s just softball. Baseball, basketball, and football parents have the same issues. So, I came up with an idea I want to try. But first, let me introduce myself.

My name is Lonnie. I live in a great little town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. I have 4 kids who are now adults. Three boys and one girl. Two of them grew up playing a sport. My oldest boy Billy played Little League baseball and then football all four years of High School. This was a great time, and I don’t remember the cost at the time being overburdensome. Here’s where things changed. When my daughter Haley was 12, she came up to me and said “Dad, I want to play softball this year.” Great! We’ll go get you some gear and signups are just a week away. So, we went to the city and different sports stores from Big 5 to Dick’s and spent time picking out just the right equipment and clothing she needed. We spent a lot of time and A LOT OF MONEY. I can remember thinking; this is just the beginning. I was right. This was 9 years ago. My daughter played her first year in Little League softball and did very well. She was a natural with a great arm, a strong hitter, and a great glove. I was very exited and obviously from the start, her biggest fan. Well, after the season was over came this thing called Travel-ball. THAT is a whole different world that I was getting into. Expenses I hadn’t given much if any thought to, suddenly appeared. But I didn’t care. I was having as much fun as my daughter. Fast forward to 2016, and our world changed forever. It was during my daughter’s Freshman softball season when my wife, her mom, suddenly passed away. It was now just her, I, and one of her brothers. The two oldest had moved out. I honestly thought that softball might stop, but it didn’t. Haley wanted normalcy in her life, and softball was a part of that. That summer, I was a little worried about how much I was going to be spending on travel-ball, because well; I’m now a single dad with 2 kids. I know there are thousands of families like that, that do fine. But I had not been quite in a situation like that before, but I was determined that my kids were going to do what they wanted in terms of activities like sports. Even if I went deep in the hole doing it. Kids get this time of their lives ONCE. Yes, it was expensive. Costs went up every year, including a hitting coach I took her 2 hours away to, every other Sunday. It was worth it. Not only did I get to spend all that time with my daughter, but she also just got better and better, ending her Senior year receiving Honorable Mention All-League. She was a power hitting, fast, ball-hawking first basemen, and I couldn’t have been prouder.

So, now to this idea. I have seen and heard of so many parents struggling with the costs of putting their kids in sports, especially if they have more than one kiddo wanting to play. Every cost is doubled or worse, and parents look to anything from discount stores to swaps, to get kids their gear. What I am wanting to do is begin a youth sports equipment and clothing business. LELSports is the name of this idea. I want to start off getting new equipment from well known sports businesses like Demarini, Easton, Spaulding, Wilson, Riddell, and many more; and be able to offer them to people at lower costs. And as the business grows, I would be able to lower prices even more. Once established, what I would also like to do, is work with these manufacturers, and see if they would be willing to donate “X” amount of dollars for every “X” amount of say bats that I buy from their company, to go into a scholarship fund that parents, who find it a struggle for whatever reason; can apply for so their kids can play. Paying for one kiddo to play a sport can be taxing. Paying for two, three, or four? If any breaks in cost are given by whatever organization they are playing in, believe me, they aren’t enough. I couldn’t imagine telling a child that they can’t play because I couldn’t pay for his/her sibling(s) to play also. Gut wrenching, and I know there are parents out there who have had to do it. I don’t think I can fix everything for everybody, but if we support this, and I mean WE. All of you out there taking time out of your day to read this, and believe in sports opportunities for our kids, are part of this. This will be on-line based, has a Facebook page, and ALL are welcome to provide both input and criticism. If you have an idea, share it. We’ll see if it can be worked out. YOU ALL are going to be a big part of making this work. Sports are important. Health-wise, social skills building, teamwork skills building, leadership skills building, and making family memories that you will have for your whole life.

I thank you all for taking the time to read this. It honestly is my first ever blog, and I’m not a writer or even really know what blog means. LOL. I’m just a dad with an idea that I would like to see grow and expand so that we can get as many kids as we can; out on the fields and playing the sports that they love. So, if you go to the Facebook page, like, leave a note or idea, or just say Hi.

Thanks everyone, and play ball!