A View from the Cheap Seats
By Mike McClure
Sometimes life isn’t fair
When we are kids, we spend a lot of time wishing we were adults. After we become adults, we wish we could go back to being kids again.
Last week, the Laurel Major League all-star softball team learned something we often have to come to grips with when we are adults: sometimes life isn’t fair.
Less than 24 hours away from making a trip to New England to represent the state of Delaware in the Eastern Regionals, the team had the rug pulled out from under them. A player on the team was ruled ineligible because she lives outside the Laurel Little League district’s boundaries.
This is not the first time this has happened. Several years ago the same thing happened with the Laurel Major League team, however, this time the entire team was disqualified, not just the player in question.
There was much discussion about this on social media over the weekend. Some say the officials in Williamsport (Pa.) should have been more lenient since they allowed the same player to play in regionals at another level last year, others said that the rest of the team should be allowed to play, while others said the adults at the local level should have caught the error.
For the 13 players that were robbed of their opportunity to play in the regional tournament, it really doesn’t matter whose fault it was. It wasn’t their fault, yet they are the ones being punished.
Between being a kid myself (a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away) and being the stepfather of two kids, now teens, I know a few things about kids. Even though a lot has changed since my dinosaur days of being a kid, there are a few things that never change. One of them is that kids are resilient.
Sure, the players were devastated when they learned they would not be going to Connecticut, but eventually they got over it and moved on to other things. As adults, we are not as quick to forgive and forget. I hope that the parents of these players allow them to go back on the Little League diamond next year and in years to come. There’s no better story in sports than a redemption story. Let the players come back next season with the desire to prove something. I know I said that kids are resilient, but they’re not elephants. They’ll remember this experience when they need something to fire them up, their coaches will make sure of that.
The Next Generation- Speaking of kids, I made it out to quite a number of games this summer and I saw something happen, twice, that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. It made me realize that no matter how much we may want to put down the current generation, as the previous generation did us, the future is bright.
I was covering a Senior League all-star baseball game in Georgetown and there was a softball game going on two fields down. The National Anthem had already played at the baseball game and the players on both teams were warming up and getting ready to start the game. In the middle of warm-ups players from both teams stopped what they were doing and stood at attention. The National Anthem was playing on the other field. The players remained that way until the song was over, then went back to what they were doing. I didn’t see or hear the coaches give their players a cue that that was supposed to do, but I may have missed it.
A week or so later I was covering a Junior League all-star softball game in Seaford and it happened again. A team was practicing on a nearby field and when the anthem played at the softball game, the players stopped what they were doing and stood in the direction of the flag while the song played.
I’d like to think that my friends and I would have done the same thing when we were kids, but short of getting a “Jethro Gibbs” upside the heads from my dad, I doubt that would have happened.