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LaMya, an 8-year-old girl, and TaMitric, a 6-year-old boy, reminded me what it was all about Friday afternoon.

After some strong encouragement by their adult friend Stacie, both decided they want to try the game of baseball.

But there was only one problem.

Neither had ever put a baseball glove on their hand , neither had ever thrown a ball, and unless someone helped them, they likely wouldn't get that opportunity anytime soon.

There is a young lady somewhere in Farmington named Lizzy who has no idea that she just gave LaMya her first glove.

There is a young man named Cody who has no idea he just gave TaMitric his first glove.

That's because Lizzy and Cody still had their names on the baseball gloves they donated last year to the Glove with Love program, and Friday afternoon at the youth league fields in the shadows of Ricketts Park, the gloves were given to their proud new owners.

Within minutes, they threw their first throw and caught their first catch, just in time for their first T-ball practice later Friday night.

I can't imagine any kids happier than those I saw playing Friday in the dusty New Mexico wind, this new and exciting game called baseball.

***

The Glove with Love program is alive and well, and this year's drive has quite a few more participants — and needs.


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The program is hosted here at The Daily Times, where we ask any of you reading this to collect old baseball gloves in your garage, attic or closet and donate them. Many of you go out and buy new gloves to donate. Many of you bring in other equipment such as bats, bags and balls, all of which are used.

The smaller gloves are given to boys and girls playing in the younger leagues, while the adult-sized gloves are given to the Special Olympics and to local non-profit entities looking to supply big groups. Almost all of the recipients cannot afford a glove of their own, and the children especially are protected when their identity needs to be kept confidential for various reasons.

This year, the Farmington Police Department and the Fire Department are stepping up in a big way.

You'll be seeing more feature stories about this real soon, but any police officer or firefighter you see will accept donated baseball gloves and equipment for Glove with Love.

Also, in addition to donations accepted during business hours at The Daily Times, you can drop off donations at any Farmington fire station.

That's not all.

Police Chief Kyle Westall and Fire Chief Terry Page visited a couple of local sporting goods stores last week, and at least two already are on board to help put gloves on the hands of underprivileged children or special Olympians.

Zia Sporting Goods has agreed that for anyone purchasing a baseball or softball glove at Zia's this season, if they donate their old used glove at the store for the Glove with Love campaign, they will get a whopping 15 percent discount on the purchase of their new one.

Likewise, Big 5 Sporting Goods says that for every purchase of a new glove at its store from a customer donating a used glove, the customer will be allowed special discount sales prices listed from the store's online site.

This is wonderful news not just for children like LaMya and TaMitric, but for ANYONE in town looking to buy a new baseball or softball glove. By donating your old one at the store, you save bigtime money as well.

A big thank you goes to all of our police officers and firefighters for joining the effort, and to Zia and Big 5 for the incentives.

Again, you'll be reading more soon, but Saturdays like today are great for doing a little cleaning around the house.

Got an old glove or bat or ball around?

We'll take it.

***

You'll also be reading soon about how the program will do more for the Special Olympics this year.

Local organizers, who you'll hear from, will be gearing up for the big games in June that will include softball. Most of these participants have in the past had to share gloves as a team and never had their own.

For some, that's fine. For others, they'd love the chance to treasure having their own glove and to feel just as important on the field as any other baseball or softball player in any other league.

Isn't that the real point of all of this, to get kids off the streets and adults active in a game called America's favorite pastime?

That's why this year we are setting the goal of equipping at least 30-50 Special Olympians with their own glove, one they can put their name on and one they can carry off and on the field anytime they like.

The money given to Special Olympics is limited and used for a thousand other purposes, meaning it's not likely any will be spent to buy individual athletes their own glove.

It's the same thing for children in youth leagues who come from busted homes, lost parents, tough financial situations or perhaps because no one else cares about them but their baseball coach.

That means, for some of these kids and adults looking to the game for a better quality of life, it's up to you.

If you're at a garage sale or flea market today, or in your garage or closet, and you stumble across an old glove, please donate it to someone very excited and eager to wear it. Ditto if you have interest in buying a new one and want to visit Zia or Big 5.

And, just politely ask any police officer or firefighter to accept it for you, or bring it by next week to The Daily Times.

Or, you can try to catch me today.

You can bet I'll be at a baseball field somewhere in town.

Play ball!

Troy Turner is the editor of The Daily Times. He can be contacted at tturner@daily-times.com, or at P.O. Box 450, Farmington, N.M. 87401.