Return of Raleigh fall youth sports means normalcy for many

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Effective Monday, fall youth sports registration in the City of Raleigh is officially open for parents and children. Fall softball, fall baseball, flag football, and cheerleading are available right now on the City's website for selection as children and parents look forward to normalcy again.

"It's pretty much getting them back into the community and being able to have motor skills," said parent Cameron France. "And coming out is showing that everybody can still come out and be unified."

All sport registrations, with the exception of softball, start at age 5 as of Aug. 31. The minimum age for softball is 7 years old. The maximum age for cheerleading and flag football is 17 and for softball and baseball, respectively, is 13.

The Youth Athletics Program is sponsored by the City of Raleigh's Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Department.

"We're excited to have youth sports coming back kind of closer to normal," said recreation superintendent Billy Aubet. "A large portion of our participants, especially the youth, now have access to the vaccine if they choose that for their family. So we're just hoping to see the progression and this little kind of return to normal, with our fall sports all being outdoors."

Because the sports are all held outdoors, and because of NCDHHS guidelines and an updated executive order, masks will not be required.

Aubet said postgame handshakes and sharing of food and drink will still not occur, and participants can still expect to see physical distancing guidance.

"With our outdoor sports, a lot of them are in the lower risk categories ... so, I think people will feel it pretty close to normal," said Aubet.

Grandparent Beth Gillespie hopes this is the start of what kids ought be enjoying.

"I think anything that's in the air basically dies in the heat and within seconds," she said. "And I feel like kids of all people need to be out. They need to be exercising. We just need to let them do it."

Sports and their registration dates, along with the associated costs, widely vary.

  • Fall baseball: Ages 5-17. Sign up between July 12-23. Fee is $63 for Raleigh residents and $78 for non-Raleigh residents.
  • Cheerleading: Ages 5-13. Sign up between July 12-23. Fee is $55 for Raleigh residents and $70 for non-Raleigh residents.
  • Fall softball: Ages 7-17. Sign up between July 12-23. Fee is $55 for Raleigh residents and $70 for non-Raleigh residents.
  • Flag football: Ages 5-13. Sign up between July 12-23. Fee is $40 for Raleigh residents and $55 for non-Raleigh residents.

"(Kids) have all been isolated," said Gillespie. "They've not gone to school some of the time. They've not been able to socialize. And kids, we all need socialization -- but kids especially. They need to socialize. They need to get with each and just have fun."

For more information and to sign up, visit the City's of Raleigh's website for further details.
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.