Playing for the love of the game

Published 8:52 am Monday, August 20, 2012

Column:  Aaron Worm, Behind the Mic

If you are going through Olympic withdrawal, there is good news for all of us.

All we have to do is look to a town of less than 30,000 people in Pennsylvania.

Aaron Worm

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Of course I am talking about the home of the Little League World Series, Williamsport. A place where there are no millionaires, no endorsement deals and no agents, just kids from around the world playing a game. Volunteers ump the games, and fans get in for free.

It takes us back to a place where baseball is played by kids because it is a game and not for huge contracts. Players experience things that they will never forget and are able to wipe away the tears after a tough loss by having a slice of pizza and an ice cream cone with their teammates at a local restaurant.

The championship game is Sunday, where a team representing the United States will face the winner of the international bracket.

Like the Olympics, it is an event that brings people from many different cultures and backgrounds together to spend a few weeks playing ball and learning from each other.

I could not imagine how fun it would be to be 11 years old and sit down and talk sports, video games, comic books and whatever else with another 11-year-old, from let’s says Japan or Germany.

One of the greatest moments of the Olympics was watching the closing ceremonies and having all the countries come in together as one and not split like they are in the opening ceremonies.

Forget the problems or differences that certain countries might have with each other, for that moment when the teams are together smiling, laughing, and showing camaraderie you wish our world was like that on a daily basis.

The same thing happens with the LLWS, uniting the world to watch kids play a game that a lot of us love.

The Little League World Series has had bumps in the road certain years, with some players who have played being over the age that is allowed.

I know they have moved the fences back, but it still seems like sometimes a check swing turns into a home run. But, nothing can take away from an event where crowds with more than 40,000 people have invaded Williamsport by sitting in the stands or on blankets in the outfield to cheer on these kids.

I have watched on many occasions, and sang the song “I am the Greatest” by Kenny Rogers in my head while watching my son play ball in the backyard.

I chuckle every time I see him run around the bases pretending there are fireworks exploding overheard because he hit a home run.

He always shakes hands for two to three minutes with the “opposing team” after he wraps up the game.

Hats off to the kids in Williamsport this week playing a kids game and enjoying it not for fame or fortune but for the love of the game.


KATE Radio Sports Director Aaron Worm’s column appears every Monday in the Tribune. He can be heard from 6 to 11 a.m. weekdays on The Breeze.