The Hawaiians are coming! The Hawaiians are coming!

This weekend I caught segments of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. I’m not really a fan; I just stumbled upon the broadcast and was immediately captivated by the action. Three pitches in twenty seconds. Four-foot-something kids knocking the ball out of the park. Struck-out batters walking respectfully from the plate. Defensive plays like you’d see made by pros: catching wild grounders and lobbing the ball into first base in time to catch the runner; sprinting across the outfield and catching the ball without missing a beat. And no booing of umpire calls.

The players must have received a directive about the display of attitude on the field. Although one Hawaiian batter, in a come-back inning, did a victory dance that will likely be televised for months to come. One member of the opposing Louisiana team sobbbed openly.

The kids weren’t the only ones wearing their hearts on their sleeves. The announcer said that on Saturday, Hawaiian team fans watched the semi-final game on large screens in a club back in Oahu; many had to leave the club because they could not take the pressure, six thousand miles away.

On Sunday Hawaii played Mexico for the World Championship. I saw the grim looks on the faces of the Mexican players and parents as Hawaii steadily scored runs and struck out Mexican batters. The Mexican pitcher even stepped off the mound and made the sign of the cross, but the handwriting was on the wall. This was bigger than pro sports. Bigger than multi-million dollar contracts. This was the most respectful two hours of sports I’ve ever witnessed.

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