ByCristina M. Molina
Around the time that little leagues acrossAmericawere preparing for the 2007 season, a group of little girls, ages 5 and 6, joined the Burbank Heartbreakers, aBurbankParksand Recreation Ponytail T-ball team led by Coach Richard Escamilla. Coach Richard founded the Heartbreakers over 15 years ago and has been a dedicated fixture inBurbankfor all these years. In 2011, they took it to the next level and joined the Travel Team circuit, which required a higher level of play. They were also undefeated in the Burbank Ponytail division locally and they captured the Tri City Championship. These accomplishments were a true testament that all of their hard work was paying off. (An important thing to note is that the travel teams are typically composed of the top athletes from different cities. The Heartbreakers is the only travel team composed of girls who are all from the same city. What a true testament to their talents!)
This year, the hard work and dedication of these young girls, their parents, and coaches has provided them with the opportunity of a lifetime. As a travel team, they have qualified to representBurbankand play in the 10U Triple Crown Softball World Series inPark City,Utah. This is no ordinary accomplishment, as only 24 teams from around the country are given berths in this division.
At a time when this local team is feeling so proud of their accomplishments, they’ve realized that they are on their own in raising the desperately needed funds to help pay for the trip. Recently, the parents and coaches approached the City of Burbank Parks and Recreation with a request to hold a 50/50 raffle fundraiser at the city-sponsored All-Star Games. An announcement made during the games could help generate the crowd’s interest and raise funds for the team’s travel expenses. (They did not askBurbankfor any monetary donations whatsoever.) Unfortunately for the Heartbreakers, city policy prohibitsBurbankfrom sponsoring fundraisers for any specific team, according to Patrick Thomas, a Recreation Services Manager with the city. With hundreds of teams playing for the city, they are unable to show any favoritism to one team. Mr. Thomas, however, did state that the city could provide practice fields for the team, if they needed them.
Here is the hard part: explaining the red tape to these young girls. They have worked so hard for the last 5 years and they feel their efforts are being punished instead of rewarded. In a world where so many things are wrong, these little Heartbreakers are an example of what is right in our community, and we need to send them a positive message. They deserve our support and our encouragement so they continue achieving great things! These young ladies plan on bringing the championship toBurbank: the city they live in, attend school in, and love. We should return the love and show them that the community cares, believes in them, and is proud of them.
If you are interested in donating to the team, please contact Coach Richard Escamilla at (661) 244-7388 or Coach Mike Gay at (818) 408-1152. A Tax ID number can be provided as your donation is tax-deductible. Donations will be acknowledged on the team’s website and all sponsors will be thanked in an AD in the local newspaper.