As you drive through town it’s hard to miss one of HLLA’s roadside ads. This is how Chris Pipkins was first introduced to the league. He is a local by all accounts. He attended JMU for grad school in the early nineties and returned to Harrisonburg in 1997, where he has lived ever since.
Chris enjoys baseball, and he himself played up through the seventh grade. Though for Chris, it was always more of an activity rather than a vocation. For Chris— while an Orioles fan— he is involved with the league, first and foremost because of his son Lennox. Lennox Wright-Pipkins is six years old, and has fallen in love with America’s favorite pastime.
“We would play baseball out in the yard and he seemed to like it. Then I took him to an Orioles game and that’s when he seemed interested in playing on a team,” said Pipkins.
When the league needed another set of hands on the field, Chris stepped up to serve as an Ad Hoc coach. Contrary to popular belief, the league is not made up of all veteraned coaches. In fact, what it often needs most is just that extra person to step up.
“They needed another dad to work with one or two kids. I was there, and I happened to have my glove with me. I wasn't pressured or obligated, I just saw that there were 900 people at Opening Day, but not everybody got to be on the field. I felt useful when I showed up,” said Pipkins.
For Pipkins, it was incredibly rewarding to take on the unexpected role. He got to be more in-touch with his son’s interests, while also making new friendships with league parents. Chris let his son play baseball for reasons that surpass just the joy of the game. “I think baseball asks for a different skill-set than some of the other sports. Its a team but with an individual component.”
As HLLA gears up for the 2019 season, Chris is optimistic about the future of parent involvement. “I think there's a lot of events that provide opportunity for the community to come together,” he said.
HLLA Story is an official blog site of the Harrisonburg Little League Association. All contents are managed by the Bluestone Communications, a student-run public relations agency at James Madison University. Please contact Kevin Leaven (firstname.lastname@example.org), an account executive of the Bluestone Communications., if you have any questions about the blog or the stories.