Throughout the entire competition, Hawaii's manager Gerald Oda could often be overheard reminding his team, "Enjoy this moment," and "Love each other."
Whether or not you're a baseball fan, I think you would have enjoyed watching this year's Little League Baseball World Series (LLBWS)—especially if you've become disillusioned with the politicizing of professional sports of late. (Screengrab: Honolulu Hawaii wins the LLWS/via LittleLeague.org)
Even the Little League Pledge, which has remained unchanged since its inception in 1955, and is recited before each game, is a refreshing moral compass:
I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best
The LLBWS format features 8 US teams and 8 international teams who compete in their own brackets until the championship game. It's a unique opportunity for these 11 and 12-year-olds to experience not just the thrill of playing the game they love in the beautiful Williamsport, PA facility; but also for the kids to interact with their international peers.
And this year seemed especially positive thanks to the focus on sportsmanship even amid some very high-level competition.
In fact, this year there were two teams that were presented with the Jack Losch Sportsmanship Award—Hawaii and Georgia—and for good reason. (Photo: Honolulu, HI and Peachtree, GA/via LittleLeague.org)
Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO stated, "The amount of sportsmanship, character, and respect that these two teams have displayed throughout this World Series has truly been remarkable and fully exemplifies the values and spirit that the award represents. We are honored to present this award to both teams and hope their display of sportsmanship will continue to inspire local Little League programs around the world."
As Hurricane Lane was dousing Hawaii in torrential rain, the Peachtree City Georgia Little League made a donation to the hurricane relief fund for Hawaii. Hawaii's team responded by giving them leis prior to their game, and gave the Georgia manager, Patrick Gloriod, a special lei made of Kukui nuts, which symbolizes 'light' (because he's the 'light' for the kids on his team), according to the Sun Gazette.
Throughout the entire competition, Hawaii's manager Gerald Oda could often be overheard reminding his team, "Enjoy this moment," "It's gonna be a great day" and "Love each other." And even after Hawaii won it all on Sunday by shutting out South Korea 3-0, Oda's voice cut through the kids' celebration reminding them, "Humble, remember be humble" and then he led them over to salute the losing team for a game well played. (Screengrab: Hawaii manager, Gerald Oda/via LittleLeague.org)
This year's Little League Baseball World Series was a competition that featured outstanding sportsmanship at every turn, as well as truly fantastic skills—these kids played their hearts out, with 'Web-Gems' worthy of any ESPN viewing.
Perhaps Hawaii's manager said it best; "I think that's what Little League's about," Oda told the Sun Gazette, "Even though we're opponents, it's not about hating the other guy. It's about sharing the love of the game."