30 Years. 30 Great State Stories. 1995. Learning America’s Pastime at the Chandler Baseball Camp

Great State

CHANDLER, OKLAHOMA (KFOR)– When you’re only 9 years old waking up to the sound of Reveille is probably now something you’re used to.

Most kids this age aren’t used to sweeping their rooms or readying their bunk for inspection either.

But this is how every day starts at Chandler Baseball Camp, where you’re lucky to work in a quick game of wiffle-ball after breakfast if you hurry.

“Do you guys all stay in this cabin,” asks a camp visitor?

The youngest campers who come here to learn the game of baseball spend their first night away from parents in Cabin #1.

“When did you get here,” asks the visitor?

“We got here Sunday,” replies a line of 5 Pee Wee players.

Since 1958, this cedar bunkhouse has been home for the littlest rookies.

“What did you come here to play,” asks a coach to the group?

“Baseball!” they shout.

“What do you do when you play baseball,” the coach asks?

“Hustle!” they shout again.

Camp staffers call these young kids Pee Wees, but their expectations are the same as for the other campers.

“Remember what happens if you’re not down and ready,” says their coach.

“You get taken out,” the kids say in unison.

“What happens if you don’t hustle on the field,” he asks.

“You get taken out.”

At the top of the list, coaches expect players to respect the game by trying hard, by listening, and by playing baseball as it was meant to be played.

Their coach again, “There are three things we ought to have memorized. What are they?”

“Relaxation, concentration, rhythm,” recite the Pee Wee players.

“Do you like camp,” asks the visitor?

“Yeah,” says the Pee Wees in Cabin #1.

“Are you tired yet?”

“Yeah.”

Over the past 38 years different campers have written their names on the walls and ceilings of this cabin.

Some of them reflect typical 9 year old humor.

This year’s Pee Wees have a good laugh at whoever wrote ‘Jack the Ripper’ on his bunk.

But most of the others are a signature witness to the past, to all the boys who spent their first weeks away from home, whose sweat and tears mingled with diamond dust,

to all the boys who learned to love a game called baseball.

Great State is sponsored by WEOKIE Credit Union

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