Just returning from the 2010 LLWS, this post can’t begin to capture the fun and drama that takes place every August (since 1939) in Williamsport Pennsylvania. Quite simply, you have to be there. It’s the purest sporting event in the world.
For starters, it’s a contest of 12 and 13 year-olds. They range in height from four feet to six. From 62 to 185 pounds. They hail from every part of the globe. They are confident and accomplished. They pay their own way to be there and play strictly for the fun and for the title of World Champions. They are all heart and leave theirs on the field every game. The baseball they play is second to none.
Take note Major League Baseball – it’s a World Series that invites the world. Over 80 countries compete and filter into the 8 slots that challenge the USA boys of summer. The international play creates an importance that MLB wishes they had.
On the first night of play, and down to their last out, Japan homered to beat Mexico. It was one of the most exciting baseball games I’ve ever watched. Ginga Maruoka, who hit the three run shot with two outs in they the sixth inning, cried in the dugout when they handed him the home run ball. I’ve never seen Jeter do that.
What stands out most about the LLWS is that it’s a celebration of the talents and accomplishments of these kids. It’s magnified by the hot and dusty regional tournament games that came before; of the teams that didn’t make it. The pedestal and the stakes are high for those who advance. To see kids step up and deliver on that stage (and man do they), is chicken soup for the sports soul.
I saw an eight year old get a baseball autographed by a twelve year old Hawaii player. I don’t know which boy was happier.
If you’ve ever believed in sports, coached youth baseball or been twelve years old, you owe yourself a pilgrimage to Williamsport.