It must be a sign of the times --robably due in part to the well documented problems created by some Little League parents and fans.
Security at the state tournament which began Saturday at Crossroads Park in Gilbert seemed stringent. Signs around the park read "no talking to players, managers and coaches," "no flash photography" and "stay off fences, $2,500 maximum fine."
A press pass that was good enough for me to join a Hot Shot crew fighting the Dude Fire couldn't get me a good vantage point to photograph the Payson vs. Nogales game. That same press pass allowed me on the sidelines of the high school state championship football game, into the dugouts at a state baseball championship, at the crime scene of a police shooting and immediate access to an airplane wreck.
It's a good thing that Little League officials are concerned about the safety of the players and coaches. They should take all measures possible to protect the athletes and ensure the game is played without interruption.
But that security also makes it doubly tough for those reporting on the game.
Shooting pictures through a chainlink fence doesn't produce the type of photography needed for a quality newspaper.
Thankfully a little ingenuity by my son Gerry, who was attending the game with me, earned us a good vantage point behind the Nogales dugout.
Gerry borrowed a table from a nearby shirt vendor and pushed it up near the fence. Then he climbed on it and was able to shoot pictures over the top the about 7-foot fence.
He was careful, however, not to lean on the fence. That's a $2,500 fine.
Payson Little League pitcher Hunter Haynes was credited with the pitching victory in the Area 1 victory over St. Johns. Tyler Savage started in the game played last week in Show Low. Haynes relieved and was credited with the win.
Football clinic set
Coach Jerry Rhoades at his Payson High School football staff will host the "Football the Longhorn Way" clinic for youth, middle school and freshman football coaches from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. July 26 at Rim Country Middle School.
There is no fee for the clinic and all prospective coaches are urged to attend.
The camp curriculum will include instruction and hands-on training in Longhorn style of football which includes a Wing-T offense and an even-front defense. Drills, game strategy, proper conditioning and stretching exercises and fundamentals of the offense and defense will be covered.
Rhoades promises there will be plenty of time for questions and answers.
Immediately following the clinic, a cookout will be held.
For more information, call Rhoades at 474-2233.
Football to kick off July 28
The 2003 Payson High School football campaign kicks off at a preseason camp July 28 and continues each weekday until Aug. 1. Training sessions will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the Rumsey Park south field. Weight-training sessions will be at 5 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
There is no fee for the camp and coach Jerry Rhoades is urging all prospective players to participate.
Preseason training resumes at 3:30 p.m., Aug. 4. All athletes must have their physical and insurance forms on file in the office of athletic director Dave Bradley before they will be allowed to practice that day.
The Longhorns spring into action a week earlier than other fall sports at PHS. Aug. 22, the team travels to Snowflake for its annual preseason scrimmage. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Under Arizona Interscholastic Association rules, no score can be kept and the game statistics are not counted in final tabulations.
The campaign officially begins at 7 p.m. Aug. 29 on PHS field against the Cortez Colts.
For more information call Rhoades at 474-2233.
Dunman, Byron host softball camp
Payson High School softball coach Will Dunman will hook up with Mesa College coach DeWight Byron to host the Play Ball Girls Fastpitch camp.
Open to girls 10 to 18 years of age, the camp is scheduled for Aug. 8 and 9 on Lady Longhorn softball field.
From 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the first day of the camp, fledgling players 10 to 13 will take to the field. Campers 14 and older will receive instruction from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Aug. 9, the 10 to 13 group is slated for camp activities from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The 14 and older girls have the field from noon to 3 p.m.
According to the coaches, campers will receive instruction in fielding, throwing, hitting, pitching and strategy. Along with the $60 fee, campers receive a souvenir T-shirt.
At Mesa, Byron has led the Lady Thunderbirds to six consecutive playoff appearances. In 2000, he was the Arizona Community College Athletic Association Coach of the year.
For more information on the camp, call Charlene Hunt at 474-5242, ext. 7. Reservations can also be made by calling 472-2266.