Tuesday, August 21, 2007

About the Little League World Series

I hate watching the Little League World Series. I live in fear that some year, the male family members are going to say,"Hey, for vacation this year, let's go to Williamsport to the LLWS!" As if it would be funner in person.
Do I hate baseball? No. Do I hate young boys? No. Do I hate Little League? No. Do I hate that Harold Reynolds is gone from ESPN? Yea.
Wait, that's a different post.
I hate watching the LLWS because it just hits too close to home. When the kids screw up, make an error, throw a bad pitch, lose--they cry. And I've seen young boys cry over baseball.
And when you've had a kid play baseball for too many years, from age five to age 22, t-ball though college, and win tournaments and lose tournaments and win big games and lose big games, and seen him and his friends celebrate or try not to cry--there's just too much empathy there, and it makes the games no fun to watch.
Because you know a little of what these people have gone through to get where they are. You know they've lost a few, won a lot, you know somebody's mad, somebody's not, and everyone's stressed. They've been away from home for weeks, they're juggling family needs, they're next to broke from traveling so much, the kids should be in school, and, as much as they want to win the LLWS, they mostly just want it to be over.
You know the coaches are skating on the edge of stress out and exhaustion.
And it's all on national TV.
But there's one more thing I remember, that makes it just a little easier when the guys have (yet another) game on: The kids who lose, the ones crying in the dugout and on each other's shoulder, in a half-hour or so, they're going to be...
Just fine.
Yep. The parents will still be sniveling, they will always nurse a little broken heart for their kids, and they will worry about "how the boys are doing."
But the boys are just fine. In half an hour, they are out of their unis, they are starving, they are starting to joke around and smile again, and they ask if they can go swimming.
And that's what I try to remember when I see the losing team after the game. The resilience of the human spirit, in microcosm.
So, what are you thinkin'? What childhood disappointment sticks with you today--or have you gotten over?

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