A Musing about Little League - Sept 29, 2022
Did any of you watch the Little League world series this year? In particular, did any of you watch the regional tournaments that were shown on the ESPN channel/networks?
Once upon a time we only saw the one final game between the team from the US and a team from another nation - often that nation was Japan. A while back they started showing all the games from Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
The coverage was so popular they are covering even the US regional tournaments which are how the teams are selected to go to the Little League World Series. Pretty soon maybe ESPN will be covering games from our own parks and recreation department.
I must admit I enjoy these games. The kids are just that - kids. Their love of the game is evident and the emotions they experience are raw. These kids don't hide their feelings. Smiles are contagious and tears are heartfelt and real.
While I worry a bit about these kids being exploited for monetary gain, I cannot help but watch these 12-year-olds compete truly for the love of the game.
Now, normally these games are shown and forgotten. An especially remarkable play may show up on SportsCenter’s Top Ten Plays of the Day but that is as far as any highlights or news goes about little league.
However, this summer an event happened that made international news. Perhaps you saw it.
If you did not see it, there was a game between two teams, one representing East Texas from Pearland, Texas, and a team from Oklahoma from the city of Tulsa. It was the Southwest regional finals.
In the third inning, pitcher Kaiden Shelton lost control of a curve ball and hit Isaiah Jarvis in the head. It was a frightening moment. Thankfully, the ball hit his helmet. After a few moments, Isaiah was able to stand, and the trainer cleared him to continue playing. Isaiah Jarvis jogs down to first base and as he is standing on first base, he looks over and sees the pitcher Kaiden Shelton crying on the pitcher’s mound. Isaiah (his nickname is “Zay”) leaves first base and goes over to hug Kaiden and tells him—and you can hear it because of all the cameras and microphones— “I’m all right. I’m okay. You’re okay.”
For most folks who saw the highlights of the game that great act of sportsmanship is probably all they know.
However, if you research more about it you see that Zay’s coach, Sean Copeland, was interviewed by CNN after the game. They asked him if he knew what Zay was going to do when he was walking to the pitcher’s mound.
I love what the coach said. He said that when he saw Isaiah walk towards the pitcher, he did not know what Zay was going to do but he knew it was going to be kind.
He said he knew it was going to be kind because that’s the kind of kid Isaiah Jarvis is.
Later CNN interviewed, Zay and he said he just thought it was important to comfort Kaiden and show him God’s love.
Coach Copeland went on to say it is kind of cool that in a time when we are so divided when there is so much hate out there, that two 12-year- old boys would show us what really matters— what really is important.
Friends the truth is we as Christians often talk a lot about faith. We as Presbyterians write a ton of words about faith.
However, words, as powerful as they are, are not near enough.
In the 13th chapter of John’s gospel Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Later in 1st John we find these words “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth”.
Friends, love is best when love is shown. And the love of God is most evident when it is seen.
We need to be people that show our faith. We need to be a seeing faith people because opportunities to show faith are all around us.
Because God is all around us. So, keep an eye out because God is present all around us. In fact, sometimes the love of God can even be seen at a little league baseball game.
Video of the Little League Play
Have a great week!