I love love LOVE the Little League World Series. First, unlike Major League Baseball and the NFL’s “World Champion” rings despite only playing stateside, the LLWS is a true “world” series with both international and U.S. teams.
And there is just something so uplifting about seeing these young men and women compete with such heart and sportsmanship that has become all too rare in the adult sports world with the tweet battles and dirty plays. These boys shake hands, help each other up after collisions. Yes, there have been occasional scandals in the past, but due to choices of the adults, not the kids.
Also impressive are the parents and fans who support them–nearly 50,000 are expected today for the final (3 pm ET, ABC) of Tokyo and Lewisberry, Pennsylvania. That’s more than nearly ever MLB stadium in the country.
The coaches, too, so passionate and supportive, are heart-wrenching to watch, their very souls invested in developing the kids’ skills, but more important, character.
Take Texas coach Andrew Soloman–he promised to cut his now-famous purple dred-locks if his boys won. (They are currently playing Mexico in the consolation game, so the dreds will live to fight another day.) And did I mention he is a professor of law at the South Texas College of Law?
Once again, the Keystone State figures into the drama. Williamsport, Pa. is the yearly host of the international tournament. Last year, Philadelphia female pitcher Moné Davis stole the show, if not the trophy, throwing a complete game. This year, Lewisberry seeks to be the first Pennsylvania team to win the World Series title since Levittown did it in 1960.
It’s a shame to see the tournament come to an end, but school is calling. They have all, already though, received lessons in friendship, hard work and love.