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Local sign promoting good sportsmanship goes viral

By KATRINA SMITH

LEE, N.Y. (WKTV) - A simple sign hanging on the fence of a Little League field in the Town of Lee is getting the attention of more than just the spectators at the game.

It reads "These are kids. Coaches are volunteers. Umpires are human. You do not play for the Yankees."

The sign was put into place because sometimes parents need to be reminded that, at this level of sports, it's just a game.

The Town of Lee had no idea it would go viral, but a picture of the sign has been shared on Facebook several times, accumulating more than 100,000 "likes."

2.3 million kids play little league across the nation and there are just 750 spots on major league teams. That means most won't make the cut.

Director of the League Pat Hetherington said he got the idea for the sign from a Georgia ball field.

I thought that catches all the essence of what we're trying to promote here at the park, so I took it, put a little twist on it, because most of are Yankees fans here," Hetherington said. "I do umpire here a lot so I thought it would be advantageous if I make a bad call, I can say, 'hey look at the sign - umpires are human.' But everybody has liked it. It's gone viral, and I'm proud that it started here."

Hetherington just got an email from a league in Dutchess County asking if they could use the sign.

For the parents, it's about their kids. For the coaches, it's about teaching the skill and love of baseball. For the umpires, it's making the fair calls and not getting too much guff.

"Sometimes you get parents who are a little over exuberant," said parent Judy LaTour. "I think it's a great reminder that its for the kids."

For the kids, Little League is part-having fun with friends and part-dreams of the big leagues. The sign in the Town of Lee helps strike the balance.

"I love the sign," said parent Mike Entelisano. "I talk to the coaches and the parents, and it's just a reminder that these kids are not pros, and the umpires are just volunteers and so are the coaches.

"I think it's great because it's a team sport," said Parent Mary Pike. "The kids are just learning and I think that, being that my husband is a volunteer assistant coach, I think it's great because they take some abuse."

"These umps take a lot from the crowds. I could never do it," Parent Katie Waterman said.

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