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D-BAT Billings gear swap helps to offset high cost of youth sports

Posted at 8:52 PM, Mar 18, 2024

BILLINGS — The spring sports season can be a pricey one.

A new glove and bat can run up to $800, and that's just for one child. In steps local hardball retailer D-BAT Billings, which held a gear swap Saturday.

"There are travel costs, gear costs, cage rentals, everything. It's very expensive, especially every year when you need gear," D-BAT owner Elly Wood said. "We're trying to collect gear that people may have collecting dust in their garage or that their kids don't need anymore, come in and bring an old pair of cleats and find a pair of cleats that's going to fit this year."

For parents, it isn't cheap to gear up their kids for multiple sports throughout the year. In fact, the Aspen Institute's 2022 study shows that the average cost per child per sport is nearly $900.

Naturally, this can cause difficulties for families that may sit on the lower end of the income bracket.

"I grew up on the south side of Chicago and we were poor, there's no way around it. We didn't have as much as other people growing up. I remember playing youth sports and someone would drop off a box of stuff, and everyone would dig through it to find something that would fit," little league coach and father Adam Erekson said. "Something like that today is because you do have people from so many demographics. They can come here, browse through the stuff and no one is going to feel ashamed. No one is going to feel a certain way."

"It's a problem for parents to get their kids in sports and afford it all," Wood said.

Now if you add in all the offseason camps, travel, etc., those costs rise even higher. Gear swaps like this from D-Bat help offset those even just slightly.