Watching DSU softball, baseball opened my eyes

Technology has impacted attendance and fan support, even on prep, small-college levels.

Buster Blue Hawk
Buster Blue Hawk hanging out with some of his furry friends.
Contributed / Victoria Moreno

There are times when people don’t feel like being lectured by old-timers like me about what it was like “back then.” But I say, in response, “Back WHEN?”

You see, people who think we don’t know what we’re talking about and go on ad nauseam about the subject of “what it used to be like” weren’t there. They have no frame-of-reference for the ways people used to live and how cool it all was. That’s not their fault … but when I see old-timers not doing their part to continue that spark, it’s incumbent upon me to advise them, firstly, the moment I notice it so I can offer that ancient perspective.

It was odd, sitting in the pressbox at the games over this weekend. Before I went to Bravera Field to watch the Dickinson State softball team at the Sanford Sports Complex on Saturday and the baseball team at the Big Sticks Ballpark on Sunday, I thought it was going to be amazing. The weather was supposed to be fantastic, the games were going to be thrilling and the fans were going to be pumped.

The lone negative to the weekend was that the stands were sparsely filled. That’s what I noticed first (although everything else turned out wonderful except the final scores in a couple of cases). And it remained that way throughout doubleheaders on EACH DAY. Don’t’ get me wrong, I get that it might have been one of the first full weekends of decent weather and circumstances are going to draw people in the direction of the lake or the necessary lawn work. But folks, there are home teams to support. There are opportunities to get out the house and be a part of your local community by heading to the ballpark or the local track and see something LIVE and really LIVE (there’s a hard-“I” on the first one and a soft-“I” on the second).

I have to admit that – for the first time – I was disappointed.


But then I realized that it isn’t all on the local community to get outdoors and beat-feet down to the local field to watch. As I was closing up shop in the pressbox during the last game of DSU’s double-header win, I mentioned how cold it was on Saturday and the person mentioned that people were probably watching the game at home or listening to it on the radio. Also, there is a computer program that allows fans to watch the game transpire on an app while they are busy with other things like housework or weed-eating or fixing their transmission on the truck. It gives you the pitch-by-pitch of balls-and-strikes and the progress of the game right there on your smart-phones.

Just, wow. I knew that existed for professional teams and sports, but I wasn’t aware of its existence for every sport down to the high-school level. College fans can avoid the cold and still support the Dickinson State University Blue Hawks, the Dickinson High School Midgets or their Trinity Titans in relative comfort (which, after the winter y’all have experienced, is probably a major relief).

So: My bad and I apologize.

I thought the worst of things when there was a better and more appropriate explanation. In the meantime, just realize and recognize that you can see the sports DSU offers their athletes on the Web at and listen to the games on when they’re available. You can even watch video of the games, even on the road, and that’s awesome for people who don’t have transportation or are homebound for any particular reason.

That said, there are more ways to support the home-team than to show up at the stadium or the ball-yard, and I forgot that. But it will be nice to see y’all the next time you’re out there. Let’s hope that’s soon, because these kids deserve our support.

Gaylon Wm. Parker is a sportswriter from Jensen Beach, Fla. and his columns appear in The Dickinson Press on Mondays. The opinions, therein, are those of the writer and not necessarily The Dickinson Press.

Gaylon is a sportswriter from Jensen Beach, Fla., but has lived all over the world. Growing up with an athletic background gave him a love of sports that led to a journalism career in such places as Enid, Okla., Alamogordo, N.M., Pascagoula, Miss. and Viera, Fla. since 1998. His main passion is small-town community sports, particularly baseball and soccer.
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