For a few years now it has been no secret that Kennedale Youth Association Baseball has been struggling to gain traction. From having multiple Commissioners resign and a revolving board, to the fields being unplayable. Parents have jumped ship and have lost interest in being a part of the organization that once boasted over 300 players a season.
2 Years ago, President Eric Ryals made the decision to temporarily merge KYA baseball with the booming Arlington Southwest League until the city could make the much needed repairs to the Sonora Park Baseball Facility. Those upgrades include drainage issues, electrical issues, erosion problems and much needed updates to the scoreboard system as well as the concession stand.
An even bigger problem has been security. The facilities have been broken into, vandalized and stolen from, costing the city and the youth association money and time.
In 2019 the city council approved $60,000 to complete some upgrades including the new security fencing around the ball fields as well as brand new scoreboards.
In 2020 the Kennedale Parks Board was approached by a select baseball organization looking to make drastic improvements to the field using their own money in exchange for a place to host their weekly and year round tournaments. At this point, and due to the Covid situation, all baseball talk and progress has taken a backseat until meetings and social integration can resume.
In 2019 I signed my daughter up for KYA Cheer.. you can imagine my frustration when I realized that 3 nights a week I would have to drive to the East Fort Worth/Arlington line to practice several times a week because that is where the football players are now practicing.
This year has been the same and while KYA Football is still strong as ever, barring the struggles of Covid this year, about 12 girls were signed up for cheer for 7 Football Teams.
KYA sent out a mass text to Arlington parents, some 4000 to guestimate in an effort to grow the cheer teams.
I wonder how many Kennedale parents received adequate notification that cheer sign-ups were beginning, mostly due to the fact that KYA’s best outreach has been through the schools which were shut down leaving it a struggle to communicate widely throughout the city. Yet, somehow 4000 texts were sent out to Arlington parents and parents from Kennedale are still traveling to East Fort Worth after work every day to make Kennedale Practices.
At a board meeting I made the suggestion that maybe it was time to take KYA baseball behind the proverbial barn and shoot it and that KYA should focus it’s energy on it’s thriving Football program.
A quick conversation at the local Tipsy Turtle or No Frills will shed light on parents disdain for KYA baseball and the sour taste it has put in their mouth over the last 4-5 years is translated into various 4 letter words.
Can KYA compete with Arlington Southwest’s Program?
Can KYA even make a comeback?
Is the distain parents have for KYA just for the sound of the three letters.. K.Y.A.?
Maybe a rebranding of Kennedale Youth Baseball is more suggestable than the behind the barn approach..
The fields will be repaired but will it be for not? Will there be a group of kids to play baseball on our small town fields?
I want to see KYA baseball come back to Kennedale, but I want to see it thrive.
If the leaders of KYA Baseball are truly interested in providing a quality organization for our youth and want to see it thrive, would they be willing to turn over the books and keys to a completely new board and leadership team with a fresh new approach and direction for the organization? Or is there something more to hang on to?