Results tagged ‘ Ken Burns ’

9/8/10 – It’s a Game

I have played organized softball for almost as long as I have been living in New York City. I have been a part of two teams for the last part of several years. This season, I was tabbed to coach one of them. Rocket science it ain’t. The level of baseball knowledge needed to run a slow-pitch, co-ed, “maybe we have beer, maybe we don’t” softball team ranks somewhere around “Level 3: Backyard BBQ”. My goal with this team was to be very organized and get everyone as fair amount of playing time as I could, while also still trying to get to the playoffs. This team has never made it past the first round in the postseason. This year? We made it all the way to the Championship Game. Tonight was that game.


A couple weeks ago, I was watching Canada take on Chinese Taipei in the Little League World Series. When I played Little League, my dream, other than manning centerfield for the Phillies, was to play in Williamsport for the Little League Championship. Watching these kids every year definitely brings a smile to my face, but also breaks my heart. Every time one of them strikes out or makes a costly error, the tears start flowing. I know exactly what they are feeling. For a 12-year old, nothing else matters.

This very good Canadian team had met it’s match against the kids from Chinese Taipei. They were GOOD. By the end of the third inning, the score was already 20-0. As the kids ran back to the dugout to get ready for their at-bats, Canada manager Pat Chaba rounded up the troops before they could retreat to the bench. As they do with all coaches for television broadcasts, Mr. Chaba was wearing a microphone. ESPN aired his quick speech to the team. It took only 20 seconds, but what he said could have been something you hear as part of the emotional script for Ken Burns’ “Baseball” to drive home that the game is simple and pure. With the biggest smile on his face, he looked at every one of the kids and said, “guys, we are in Williamsport, it’s a beautiful day, and we are playing baseball. Let’s have fun”. There was not one long face on that team after that. They went right back out there, beaming from ear to ear, just thrilled to be out there. They gave up three more runs and the game was ultimately stopped due to the mercy rule. Chaba was later quoted in this recap saying, “The entire fate of mankind doesn’t hinge on the outcome of a Little League game”. Later, when asked if he entertained the thought of a comeback, he quipped, “In men’s slow pitch [softball], yeah!”


So, did my team win our softball championship?

Does it matter?

We were in Central Park, it was a beautiful day, and we were playing softball. We had fun. That’s all that counts.