Little Leaguers show us how to respect each other

By JAMES PHILLIPS,

Every August for about two weeks, the 11- and 12-year olds playing their hearts out to win the Little League World Series commandeers ESPN on our televisions. I find watching these kids play America’s pastime quite enjoyable, and I cannot help but think we could all learn some things about how to treat others and show respect by watching these young ball players. 

I’m not sure how many of you watch the Little League World Series, but if I had a guess, I would venture to say not many.

Being the “baseball guy” I am, I always end up watching more than my share of the LLWS games. There is just something about the whole event that conjures up good feelings, and we can all use a little of that during these hectic times.

If I’m being truthful, I would have to admit that I actually look forward to this event each year. And when I watch these games, I can still recall so many of the joys my friends and I had playing baseball at that age.

I’m also rewarded with countless feel good moments, smiles and laughter, because that is what you get when you put kids in that type of environment and circumstances. You never know what you are going to get, but it’s just something that does a heart and mind good. 

Baseball was the first true national pastime, and will always remain America’s game. And you would be hard pressed to find anything that is more American than little league baseball.

A sport that was made in the U.S.A., being played by young boys and girls with unadulterated joy and pure love for the game makes for a wonderful scene that this country should have far more of.

For these kids who earned the opportunity to play in the international championship tournament, they will forever have memories of their two weeks at the unparalleled Mecca of little league baseball.

Only 16 teams from around world win their way to the LLWS. Out of 27,500 teams, eight teams from the United States and eight international teams earn the trip to the championship tournament.

At that age, the only things that matter are the moments shared with their coaches, teammates and families during this once in a lifetime experience. Winning is a very, very close second, but it’s not everything.

The sportsmanship, respect and raw emotions of the pre-teens stand out when watching. With no end in sight to growing divisiveness and disturbing infighting throughout our country, watching these kids play on the perfectly manicured mini baseball diamonds is a true breath of fresh air.

We can all learn from, or be reminded by, the actions of these young ballplayers.

The only bad part is not all of the teams can be crowned champs. But just like life there will only be one winner. They will all receive participation trophies for their accomplishment, but in the end only one team will be Little League World Champs. Due to the age of these kids that can lead to very emotional moments.

They all want to win without question, but these players exhibit great sportsmanship and absolute respect  for each other. They show true class by supporting one another even if that means supporting the opponent that defeats you. Just imagine if we could all do the same to our fellow man.

One 11-year-old had a powerful quote he shared. It’s one I had never heard, but will not soon forget. “I never lose; I win or I learn.”