Another chapter in American sports history
Leada Gore, Editor
The team was gathered around its first-year coach, the oh-so-close game finishing just minutes before. They were tired, hot and dirty, slugging it out with the league's best and coming up on the short end of the stick.
Their coach's voice was full of emotion, speaking to each team member about responsibility, playing their position and getting ready before the next game.
Just as the coach was in the apex of his speech, the left fielder, one of the team's most rookie players, made an announcement.
"Hey guys," he said. "I know where the snacks are."
And with that one statement, another great moment in baseball, or at least Little League history, was made.
My nephew Collier made his Little League debut last week. He's four and plays for the Indians. My brother Lanny, Collier's dad, is the head coach.
Coach Lanny has game plans and batting orders.
Collier has a helmet painted like Spider Man.
Lanny has strategy.
Collier has lightning-shaped stickers he wears under his eyes to keep the sun from distracting him while he goes for all those fly balls.
Lanny has team drills.
Collier has the smallest cleats made and a bat that weighs almost as much as he does.
Collier's team fell in the weekend's first two games, though he did make it to base in the second one. He hit a single and ran as fast as his tiny legs could carry him. He stopped right before the base and then jumped on it with both feet.
When the next player also hit a single, Collier made it to second by way of the outfield, making an arcing path from base to base.
He ran on to third – almost in a straight line this time – only to be called out when Coach Lanny motioned him on to home.
A fan stood up and yelled, "It was the coach's fault! He should have stayed at third!" I turned around and saw the disgruntled fan was mine and Lanny's mom, Collier's grandmother. In this case, allegiance went with the grandson. The son was on his on.
Collier wasn't upset by the out. In fact, I questioned if he knew what happened. He spent the remainder of the game in the outfield, spinning around until he made himself dizzy enough to fall down and then picking up dirt and pouring it into his hat.
The Indians were successful in the third game, pulling out a last-minute squeaker. Collier didn't seem too excited, especially when he learned the truck with the shaved ice wasn't at the park that day.
Still, Coach Lanny was pretty proud.
"A win is a win," my dad told him. "It's even more impressive when you think the entire outfield still rides in booster seats."