Before football and post-season baseball take over the sports world, this week kids will tell the sports story you don’t want to miss. Last week you might have caught a glimpse of Little Leaguers facing off in regional tournaments. For the boys, eight US teams will join eight teams from all over the world to play in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. In softball, ten teams from all over the world will face off in Portland, Oregon.
There is something magical about the Little League World Series. These games are not played for free agency contracts or post-season bonuses. These games are played for pride and love of the game. It is the same game that millions of Little Leaguers all over the world play all spring and into summer. And in August, the best gather in Williamsport and Portland, in front of millions of fans, to show us the beauty of American’s pastime.
There is something magical about the Little League World Series because these boys and girls wear their emotions on their sleeves. They might look grown up with their hats pulled low and eye-black smeared across their cheeks. Their skills look pretty grown up and reveal hours of practice and careful coaching. But they are still kids. They cry at losses and leap into the air to celebrate victories.
There is something magical about the Little League World series because it is a family affair. Families cheer on their players from the stands. Hot dogs, ice cream, peanuts and cotton candy clutter the stands along with signs: “Go #2! He’s my big brother.” Parents coach from the dugout and manage the skills and minds of these young athletes. And because managers wear microphones, when they help the kids settle down on the mound, everyone at home gets to listen in.
ESPN will continue to cover MLB, NFL preseason, golf, tennis, soccer and NASCAR but this week it’s the little leaguers you should watch. These ballplayers will show your family about sportsmanship, hard work and how to play our game.