If you’re boy between nine and twelve, the most important place in the world isn’t Washington, DC. Or New York City. Disney World may not even measure up. No, the Valhalla for the junior set is Williamsport, Pennsylvania. That’s the home of Little League Baseball, and its premier event, the Little League World Series.
In towns and cities across the country, dedicated coaches spend countless hours each spring and summer teaching kids the fundamentals of baseball. Follow through on your throws. Don’t block the basepaths. Don’t step in the bucket.
The reality, of course, is that baseball doesn’t have the hold on today’s kids that it once did. Look at all it must compete with now that it didn’t in the past – soccer, martial arts, inline skating and adventure sports, video games. But that doesn’t diminish the fun kids have when they play. They probably will never make it to Williamsport, but they’ll get a juice box and an orange slice after the game. And a trophy at the end of the season.
Of course, the Little League organization includes leagues for those up to age 18, and softball leagues as well. But the Little League World Series is the organization’s glamour event. It’s televised by ESPN, and draws a huge nationwide audience. Does that big stage, and those high stakes, put too much pressure on children? I don’t know, but it’s definitely intense. Not that I know personally, of course. My league all-star team played back in the days of single-elimination tournaments, and we had a no-hitter pitched against us. But that doesn’t spoil my memories of one of the great joys of my youth – playing Little League baseball.
Today’s video: a heartwarming story that happened to take place in my hometown.