Little League Cancels All-Star Game To Spare Children's Feelings

Shaun AhmadSenior Analyst IJuly 22, 2008

Prior to reading this article, take a second to answer a few questions. If the answer is “No” to any one of them, please reconsider reading the following piece.

Are you a sports fan? Do you believe in competition? Is there a barf-bag within three feet of you, as well as a bottle of Pepto Bismol or Tums, whichever you prefer? You will be needing it in about 10 minutes. Trust me.

I came across this story first on the radio today (Covino and Rich on Sirius) and then on the Internet. The City of Beachwood, wherever that is, has decided that it is in the best interests of the children (ages nine to 12) to cancel the Little League All-Star Game in baseball.

The reason?

Fred Engh, founder of the National Alliance for Youth Sports, states, “There’s nothing like sticking a dagger into a youngster’s self-esteem the first season he plays the sport by letting him know that he’s not good enough or considered worthy to be a part of this elite group of teammates.”


Really, Fred? Really?

Is this what sports in America has come to?

What happened to rewarding those who exceed the norm and display superb abilities, reaching such achievements through hard work and effort? I suppose that to protect the feelings of children, we are going to stop rewarding those who go over and beyond the average.

I suppose the example we want to set is that it’s better if everyone is just average and on the same level because we don’t want anyone to feel that their skills and talents make them better.

Don’t reward the kid who shoots 100 free throws a day after school. Reward the fat kid who watches Power Rangers (or whatever kids watch these days) and stuffs his face with Cream Pies. 

My God, are you joking me?

Here’s how it works.

If you are not good enough to be on the All-Star team and you really love a sport, your next step should be to take that rejection as motivation to work harder and get better. If you really want to be an All-Star, you work your tail off doing everything that you can possibly do to achieve your goal.

That builds character. 

It isn’t just character used in sports either. Knowing what if feels like to fail, and how hard it is to be successful, is what lights the fire in the stomachs of kids and teens wanting to be great in all walks of life. 

You can’t experience joy without knowing what sadness feels like. You can’t fully experience what it’s like to be wealthy until you know what it’s like to be poor. You can’t understand the delight and accomplishment that comes with being successful unless you’ve failed. 

Character building is something that has held true in America for as long as we’ve been here. It is one of the things we pride ourselves on. We fall down, but we make sure we get up and learn from what we’ve done.

What does it say about this new wave of parents who are afraid to scold their kids and afraid to even have something as small as a Little League All-Star team? 

I heard about this new fad of everyone getting medals and trophies, even if they came in last place. When I was a kid, which is not too long ago considering I’m 24, there was a First, Second, and Third-place trophy.

You either finish top three or you finish a loser. I finished a loser before, and it burned me inside until I got to first. I got there eventually, and there was not a better feeling in the world. 

Without going on too much of a rant, let me close by saying this.

This is a very, very disturbing trend in the world of sports. You have to realize that Michael Jordan fell in love with basketball after he got cut in high school and then finally made the team. Countless other athletes dealt with rejection before they pushed themselves to become All Pros.

If we start taking away the incentive of winning from our younger generation now, what kind of athletes will we have in 2020 and beyond? 

Remember how outraged fans were when Randy Moss said he doesn’t try on every play? Imagine a world where a much larger percentage of athletes stop trying on each play, stop trying to get better each season, and stop caring about who’s first and who’s fifth. 

I hope that I never see that day. 

Now proceed to vomit. 


To read the Fox Story, click here.