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Written by Bryan Green:

It's just little league baseball...or is it? I was fortunate enough to witness a truly inspirational performance by a bunch of 7 or 8 year olds this weekend as our Carlisle "B" All-stars challenged Middletown's "A" team; the team that sent them to the consolation bracket the morning before. And if you think it doesn't matter to the kids, I think you're wrong.

One look into the face of Carson Bowling when he accidentally ran into a tag, or Drew Green when he ran down a runner from his short-stop cutoff position only to fall just inches short of foiling a home run, or Brandon Saylor when he barely got caught trying to stretch a double into a triple; Each look at these boys trying desperately to hold back the tears despite 7 coaches and countless parents telling them what a great job they are doing tells a story of a young man who knows what it means to want something fiercely and to know how it feels to fall short. To want something so badly he can actually taste it...feel it...hold it. To feel the pain of failure. The sting of knowing that this mistake may just have cost his team the game. And what about Jeremy Melton? Down three with two outs in the top of the sixth and he slides...two feet short of second base...if you watched Jeremy crawl and scratch his way to fingertip didn't doubt that this wasn't just a game to him.

It wasn't just a little league game to Ryan Neal or Nick Smith. Not to Jordan Sweeney or Jon Shepherd either. Kaleb Carl, Austin Terry, Logan Gross, Michael Couch, and the others it was much more than that. It was an opportunity to face an obstacle and overcome it. And, down seven runs in the first inning, it was an opportunity to realize when the Giant is just too big. It was a chance to quit. These boys had a choice...and to the last one...they faced that Giant and resounded...WE WILL NOT GO QUIETLY INTO THE NIGHT.

If you think this was "just a game" to those twelve boys, then you are missing something. Something very big. And what about the parents? Are you one of those who believes that the parents who sit on the sidelines and yell are trying somehow to live vicariously through their child? That they are pushing young boys into forced competition thus depriving them of precious opportunities to have fun in a healthy learning enriched environment? If that's you, then you weren't watching our game. These parents are the greatest. Always positive, always encouraging, and always supportive. Oh there's the occasional outburst from a parent who wants his or her son to do better...but until you've been there...until you've seen enough to know how that interaction works...cast no aspersions. No. These are not your typical overzealous, overeager, loud-mouthed hard cases. These are parents who make it a pure joy to share this memory with. Did I mention we won the game...would it have mattered?

I said it Sunday, and I'll say it again...I know it's just a game...and little league at that...but if I could do, in my day to day affairs, what these little men did that day, there is nothing I couldn't accomplish. What I witnessed was heart. It was teamwork personified. It was unbridled desire. It was everything that is good about little league sports. What I witnessed, however seemingly insignificant, will forever be etched into the fabric that makes me who I am...and I am better for having been a part of it.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    As a parent of coach pitch boy myself (EKRC), this article brought tears to my eyes. I do understand and its something that is hard to put into words as well as you have. Congrats to your team!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Very nice article. After reading this article it was easy to see these kids had great coaches and parents supporting them. I am sure each of these boys will remember that day for a long time coming! Who was the coaches of this team?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Coaches were Rich Smith, Bryan Green, and Mike Neal. Assistants were Letcher Carl, Mike Sweeney, Johnathan Shepherd,and Lori Taulbee.

  4. Anonymous says:

    These little men did earn the hardware they got to bring home that day. To see them grow from a bunch of kids who had no chemistry or feeling for each other grow in to a champion truly is a site that every parent should see from there child. So people say to much pride is a bad thing. They have never see there kid hit a homerun and the way their eyes light up when they see how happy their team is and the smile on mom and dads face. It truly is a memory to hold on to. Thank you B team

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