Sunday, August 30, 2015

Serious Summer Fun

Playing baseball all summer is fun.

Arriving at Williamsport and the Little League World Series, as reward for your hard work, is fun.

Playing in front of crowds in excess of 45,000 people that are usually reserved for Major League players in Major League stadiums, is fun.

Playing on national television for two weeks, is fun.

Hitting homeruns is fun. ( A new record 85 were hit this year)

Hitting a walk off single to help your team win a United States championship, is fun.

Playing ping pong, collecting pins, sliding down hills on cardboard boxes and making friends with kids from all over the world, is fun.

Eating cotton candy and funnel cake, is always fun.

Celebrating your birthday on the same day that you play for the Little League World Championship, is fun.

Winning the Liitle League Baseball World Championship after trailing 10-2, is fun.

Watching the majority of the two week tournament with my two teenage sons, was so much fun.

While undoubtedly serious about having their share of summer fun, these athletes were also serious about winning a World Championship. This was in evidence by the stellar play of all the participants throughout the two week tournament. Once again there was plenty of drama provided throughout the competition. Some games featured pitchers seeking no hitters while others displayed walk off home runs. The pursuit of that championship dream was in full swing from the first pitch to the last out.

The dream began with long hours spent practicing on hometown baseball diamonds. The competition would start locally. However, as each team  advanced, their quest to fulfill their dream would literally require some of them to travel across the globe. This would require great effort and sacrifice from the players, coaches and their families. Earning the right to play at Williamsport resulted from their ability to consistently play at a high level and was due to possessing resilient qualities that elevated them above their competition. Knowing how to play at a serious level but having fun while doing it was something these participants would have a lot of experience in prior to their arrival at Williamsport.

While playing the game of baseball is fun, losing is never fun. Unfortunately it is one of the two possible outcomes that result from most competitions. Of all the teams represented in this year's tournament, only one went home the champion. Here is where the resiliency of these individuals and the ability to put a loss in perspective by their coaches, is needed the most. When emotions are acknowledged, effort is appreciated and children feel loved, they will move forward.

Hopefully in the minutes, hours and days that follow the conclusion of this year's tournament, the athletes will not remember the journey's end, but all of the "serious fun" they had along the way.

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