2009 MLB Spring Training logo2009 MLB Spring Training

How We Sometimes Forget What It Means To Play Sports

SAN DIEGO - MARCH 19:  Masahiro Tanaka #15 of Japan pitches against Korea during the 2009 World Baseball Classic Round 2 Pool 1 Game 6 on March 19, 2009 at Petco Park in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Chris OryCorrespondent IMarch 22, 2009

With recent events in the sporting world, it's become apparent how we forget what it means to play sports. The events of Manny being Manny, the Jay Cutler trade drama, Terrell Owens and his "get your popcorn ready" dramatics. These people need to be role models for our children.

Today I got to partake in a real sporting event. I got to watch real baseball. The thing is, it came from a group of nine-year-old kids playing in their first year of kid-pitch baseball.

It was nice going to a baseball game and people actually playing and not worrying about their next $42 million contract.

My cousin is the reason I went. He made it to his first championship all-star baseball game.

The joy in his eyes when I showed up was priceless. He told me I was going to be able to see him pitch, and since I haven't been able to make it to any games this season, he was ready to show off his stuff.

He was the starting pitcher for this game, and at this level, they play six-inning games. He let one run in the first inning, and it was from a kid stealing home on a wild pitch.

He regained his calm after that, and struck out the rest of the kids in that inning. He walked up to me after the inning and asked me, "Was that good?" 

My response was, of course, one of praise. I was so proud of him, I would have been proud of him if he would have walked 15 kids in a row.

On his second time up to bat. He came up to me and told me he was going to hit this one for me. I told him to swing away.

He cracked one into deep center field, and due to an error in the outfield, he made it all the way home for an inside the park home run.

I personally started tearing up at this point. He walked up to me and asked me if that hit was good enough for me. Of course I told him it was, as I was also trying to hide my tears behind my sunglasses.

He wound up walking next time up and stealing home. His pitching was amazing as not another kid scored for the rest of the game. The final score was 9-1. The Slidell Slammers were the all-star baseball tournament champions.

It was amazing to see these kids dog-pile the last guy that made it home. They were truly happy about playing baseball for fun, and not worrying about next year's contract.

My little cousin came up to me and told me that they won because I was there to see the championship. I told him thank you, what else could I say?

So remember where we all came from. We were all at one point the kid on the little league team, just having fun. Just playing sports for the sake of playing sports.

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