Opening ceremonies start Dixie World Series with big hit

Millie Venters sings the national anthem during Friday night’s opening ceremony for the Dixie World Series. (Photo by T.Scott Boatright)

By T.Scott Boatright

You can learn from the agony of defeat to taste the thrill of victory – anyone can overcome the odds when doing so the right way.

That was the message Louisiana Tech baseball coach Lane Burroughs sent to hundreds of Dixie Youth Baseball players as he served as the keynote speaker Friday during Opening Ceremonies for the three ongoing tournaments being held locally at the Ruston Sports Complex.

The opening ceremonies held at J.C. Love Stadium at Louisiana Tech University ended with a fireworks show but started with a band as 36 teams from across the southeastern U.S. were introduced.

Burroughs started by telling the crowd he realized the teams have another foe this World Series in Mother Nature.

“It’s August in Louisiana,” Burroughs said. “Those fields are turf. We’re going to have to dominate those elements, won’t we? We have a sign when we walk in our building that says dominate the elements. Whether it’s zero degrees or 100 degrees, we’ve got to dominate the elements.

“We’re gonna hydrate you, you’re going to keep going and we’re going to dominate that heat this week. We’re from the Dirty South, we’re used to this. C/mon.”

Burroughs also told the Dixie players to use failure as a learning experience to become better in all phases of life.

“Baseball is a game of failure,” Burroughs told the crowd. “You’re going to fail. This game will crush you. It will take your soul … if you let it. You’ve got to overcome failure. A team may come in here on a hot streak. You better put it behind you. The good thing about baseball is you get to play every day. We get to keep coming back. Tomorrow’s a new day.

“Keep going and keep plugging. The great ones fail. They deal with it. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. It was a 2,000-step process. A young reporter asked him how it felt to fail 2,000 times? He said, “What, I invented the light bulb, Dude! It was just a 2,000-step process. I didn’t fail anything. Deal with it and keep moving forward.”

Burroughs reminded the players they had to be confident to play the game well.

“Confidence comes from skills acquisition,” Burroughs said. “You want confidence? Go acquire a skill. The more time you spend playing or practicing, the more and more confidence you’ll have when you step on the field.”

A packed house was on hand at JC Love Field to watch the second Dixie World Series opening ceremonies held in Ruston over the past two weeks, and Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker said the response he’s received has been a win for Lincoln Parish as a whole.

“Having the local teams this week and seeing the parents and families filling up the stands is great,” Walker said. But this whole thing – both weeks – have been great. 

“The thing I’m most proud of is that a lot of these people have been to Dixie Worlds Series in other cities, too. And they’ve gone out of their way to tell me that everybody here has been nice to them and has made them feel welcomed.

“We were blessed to get these tournaments because they were originally scheduled to be held elsewhere but circumstances didn’t allow for that. So Dixie Youth Baseball came to us. And I want them to know that we are always a second home for them no matter where they play. We’re proud of the team we’ve built with them and they are always part of Ruston and the Ruston Sports Complex.”