Baseball In Its Purist Form

I’m a baseball fan.

A Boston Red Sox fan for more than 50 years. Given their hapless history up until just a few years ago, maybe I really was a fan of American tragedies.

I played a lot of youth baseball in days of yore. As I aged, I turned to slow-pitch softball. In my 30s and 40s, somehow, I was named to several all-tournament teams.

I was a Walter Mitty clone, I suppose.

Today, I suspect I couldn’t throw the ball to the catcher even standing next to him on the mound.

I learned, begrudgingly, I learned.

Sports are best enjoyed and played by the young. Having clean lungs, being able to throw hard and run fast are just a few of the reasons.

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and neighbors can certainly appreciate sports – especially if they are young at heart.

The Little League World Series is going on now and is being broadcast on television. I have been enjoying it. The Major League baseball fall classic is not nearly as rewarding or as sportsmanlike.

You don’t see overpaid players whining about bad calls or charging the pitcher’s mound with mayhem in mind. No tobacco spitting or grabbing private parts, either.

Instead you see boys behaving like real men should – unlike their over-priced professional counterparts.

Sometimes the Little League losing team members can be seen crying while the winning team members are cheering.

Still, during the game each team was equally dedicated. honorable and courageous. Whether the youths won or lost, they provided an example of what we supposed adults might have forgotten – a cliche that is the truth – “It’s not winning the game; it’s how you played the game.”

I admire the record of Vince Lombardi, the Hall of Fame coach of the Green Bay Packers, but shudder hearing or reading one of his most notable quotes – “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s the all-the-time thing.”

Practicing that philosophy innocence becomes lost for many young athletes as they move into college and, sometimes, professional sports.

Professional football is, arguably, the most popular sport in America. And, in some stadiums, college teams draw 70,000 to 100,000 fans.

Fanatics might be more accurate. Any fool who shows up at a game with a minus 30-degree wind chill and has “Go Patriots” painted on his bare chest or wears a plastic chunk of cheese on his head is a certifiable fanatic. Spelled “nuts.”

Folks who attend middle school and high school games are fans, too. How can relatives and neighbors not be? But, more importantly, they are ADMIRERS of the players, cheerleaders and band members.

For those young people there is competition, but no jealousy.

There is reward, but no money.

And even winning when losing.

Cheer for the Chiefs or Rams. Cheer for the Royals or Cardinals.

But don’t forget to cheer for the Little Leaguers and all young athletes. Admire them, too.

They represent what sports were meant to be.


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Posted by Jim on Aug 25 2010. Filed under News and Updates. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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