March is almost over.

High school basketball is over. The Dawson Springs Panthers will have its winter recognition today and players will celebrate their seasons.

College basketball is almost over. Soon, a new champ will be crowned. For my family, Kentucky’s not in it anymore, neither is West Virginia. I selected the losing Purdue as the champ in my bracket, so I’m no longer interested in the NCAA tournament.

It’s time to make way for my favorite sport to watch: Baseball.

I’m ready for Cubs opening day, which is Thursday. The home opener is April 9. This season looks to be another good one. We lost Jake Arrieta. When he was hot, he was hot. I look forward to learning more about the new players and continuing loving my returning bears.

I’m ready for my children to play youth ball. I signed my three oldest for Tee Ball and Pee Wee. This will be our first season with the Dawson Springs Youth League.

I’ve covered the youth league as a newspaper editor and outsider. This year, I’ve already become involved as a parent by signing up. I’m hoping for a great season of learning and fun for my children.

But the great season is at risk for some children; in some age categories, there’s not enough children signed up. Many age groups may not have a team; others may not have any substitutes.

Across the country, youth leagues face various issues. Some programs are growing; some are dwindling.

I don’t know enough about the local league to know why the numbers are so low.

As of Tuesday morning, only 65 kids had been signed up for the league.

The population of Dawson Springs is a little less than 3,000. Nearly 700 students attend the local school.

I’m thinking there should be more students and children citizens signed up for ball.

So why are the numbers low and what are we going to do about it? I want my children to play sports in Dawson Springs and I want their friends and classmates  to play. I want them to grow and learn and one day play the sports in high school.

Playing sports has a positive effect on children’s lives. Children learn how to follow directions and to strategize in stressful situations. They learn the rules of the game. They are using their brains in different ways. They make friends with people of various backgrounds, personalities and skill levels. They often find mentors, best friends and favorite equipment.

I don’t feel like the low numbers are acceptable.

I feel like low numbers are not a good thing for our community. Those who are playing or not playing in youth ball are the ones that will be recruited to play ball in high school. If there’s no one to play in youth league, there will be no one to play in high school.

I encourage you, the reader, whether you’re a parent, an alumni, a local leader, a child, a sports fan or a citizen, to brainstorm ideas of how to help the youth league here be successful. I encourage you to share those ideas with the league board. And I encourage you to give any of your time and effort to make this work for our community.

The board members are newly installed president Bradleigh Bruch, vice president Brandon Cunningham, treasurer Greg Coates and secretary Carol Dismang.

You can also call 270-779-2883.

Elizabeth Halverson has been spearheading the sign-ups by hosting meetings at the city park. Sign-ups continue 4 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, 12 to 3 p.m. Saturday, 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday and 3 to 5 p.m. April 6, the last day to sign up.

The league is open to children age 3 through 15 and the cost is $30 or $50, depending on age.