Well, it’s the bottom of the 6th, Hawaii is behind 4-1 with their last at bat – two out and one man on base! But alas…
My Little League World Series odyssey has come to a close. Then it’s, as the Cub fans say, “Wait ’til next year!” It’s not that I didn’t want to see Japan win. It’s not that I wanted to see HA win! It’s not that I was depressed that TX got beat with the ten run rule in the US championship – well maybe just a little. It’s simply that it’s over.
There were a lot of great memories from this series: Great comebacks, huge home runs, outstanding defense and impressive offense. However, what struck me most was the “manners” of the kids. The Asian teams showed great respect for their coaches, the umpires and the fans. Then many of the kids from the “west” demonstrated a lot of pouting, frustration, and times when they ignored their coaches and refused to look them in the eye when things were not going their way. All in all, it was pretty sad.
One image particularly strikes me. In the US Championship game, TX was getting thumped by HA. The coach called them together on the steps of the dugout to talk with them. NOT ONE player was looking at the coach or giving any evidence of paying attention to his encouragement. Now I know that looking at someone does not necessarily mean your listening to them. But when a coach, for example, has devoted his life to “your” success is it unreasonable to expect a bit of respect?
If you were to contrast that with Japan or Chinese Taipei – when those kids were gathered together for a pep talk from their coach, they sat together, looked attentively and shouted “ai” at the end of each statement. It left an impression.
Yes, I know our cultures are vastly different. Our values are different, our heritage is different, and our approach to individualism is different. Yet there comes a time for all of us when there is the “final pitch” and how we respond when that happens and the score is not in our favor says a good deal about who we are as a person.