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Little League World Series – It’s Not the Real World Series. Calm Down!

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It is fun to play baseball. It is one of the few sports that I engaged in when I was a kid. I enjoyed the smell of the freshly cut grass, the newly planted sunflower seeds and of course, a day at the ball park. Although I am not a morning person, it changes when I’m playing baseball early in the morning. I always look forward t early Sunday morning to play in the little league games in our place and it is one of the few things I did not miss.

However, I felt that kids these days do not have the same appreciation for the sports I love since my childhood. Consider the case last night during a Little League World Series game, particularly with the Northwest Regional Championship game, Lake Oswego from Oregon faced against Kent of Washington. In their earlier match, Kent won lopsidedly over Lake Oswego. The game began similarly with other tournaments in which both pitchers threw heat and was dominating the opposing hitters. But in the 2nd inning, the pitcher from Kent gave up a solo home run. Before that home run, that kid recorded somewhere in the ball park of four to five strikeouts. Well, he may have the makings of a great pitcher in which he finished the game with more than 10 strikeouts with three runs. Yet, his stellar performance was wasted as Lake Oswego produced consecutive hits and runs.

Then, in this same game, a Lake Oswego player had two solid at-bats and then struck out on his third attempt. He cried with that sterling performance, even though his team was winning. A solid 0.667 batting average and then victorious is something pro players will be proud of, but not in his case.

In both cases mentioned, both players were in tears with the minimal mistakes they done. Why should they be upset over such a little thing as making one minor mistake? The answer I can think of is the pressure. These young boys are put under an incredible amount of pressure. Since they are gifted athletically for their age, they simply outperform and outclass the competition during their little league careers. As they rack up victory after victory, they begin to develop a history of winning. This will lead to them believing that winning is everything and anything else is unacceptable.

These kids should be playing the game to enjoy, have fun and make friends. It is not about getting victory at all (although it would be wonderful to win the game and enjoy at the same time). I put the blame on the parents and the coaches about the behavior of their kids and players respectively. Their actions seem to relive their glory days in this sport through their children. Thus, kids end up wholeheartedly disappointed when they don’t get the victory. You have to believe me, I’ve been there. These overly-critical coaches are the main reason I stopped playing baseball, even though I too played on the all-star team.

For kids, baseball is just a game for kids. It is not similar to the professional leagues like MLB where there are other things involve like money and fame. Kids simply want to have fun with their friends. These kids don’t get paid for playing baseball in Little League. The American mentality of winning at all cost is a must and there is no second or third place. How will you learn if you always win? Losing teaches you important lessons, not just in sports but in life as well. This can lead to cry babies in which they are terrified of what their coaches or parents might say or think about them if they make a mistake. Seriously, baseball is just a game. We have to calm down a little bit and realize that the Little League World Series is not the real World Series. It is for kids to enjoy, not for the parents.

Nishan Wilde is VP of Sales at Robbins Sports and Athletics, an online resource for Basketball Uniforms.