The present and future of Westwood baseball share a moment on opening day. Photo courtesy of Kathy Hannon
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Although cold, muggy weather threatened the event and made it far from the typical spring opening day, on Saturday morning, over 500 of Westwood’s Little League baseball and softball players took part in the annual opening day parade and festivities. Starting at Hanlon Elementary and ending at Morrison Field, the event has become a staple of the Westwood community, so much so that nearly every car on the road expressed excitement about it - even as the police forced them to deviate from their Saturday morning travel plans.While the end of the parade saw men on stilts in Yankee and Red Sox uniforms, an appearance from Silly Willy the Clown and Paws from the Pawtucket Red Sox, it was the presence of the Westwood High School Baseball team that was most notable.
“We’re here representing the Westwood High School baseball team, just trying to have a fun time with the community and make ourselves, and our appreciation for the kids below us that will one day be playing where we are right now, known,” varsity player Jake Bath explained.
Ballplayers will always respect ballplayers, and the mutual respect between the kids who look up to the high schoolers and the high schoolers who see them as the next generation of Westwood talent was evident. While they joined the Little Leaguers in the march down Gay Street, the varsity athletes also strolled down memory lane, as the parade held fond childhood memories for many of them.
“I definitely remember coming to the parade as a little kid,” Bath noted. “It was always a great atmosphere and was great for the kids in the community to get together and have some fun playing baseball in the springtime. They’re doing a lot of the same types of things we did. It’s just kids showing up, having fun with each other, friends getting to see each other… It’s a great atmosphere all around.”
So, while getting your face painted, winning a Red Sox ticket raffle, or putting on a new temporary tattoo are great - and it was clear the kids were having a great time participating in those activities - in the end, the thing these kids will remember is getting out there and having fun playing baseball with their friends.
That’s how it always was, and that’s how it still is.