Picture of the day -
April 30, 2006
A Little League Baseball Game In Damascus, VA
Cheria and I decided to spend part of yesterday afternoon watching a Little
League Baseball game, so I grabbed my camera and we headed to
Virginia. By the time we got there, the kids were already starting the 5th
inning (they only play six), with Damascus down to the visiting Marion team by
With just two innings left I knew that I would have to work fast if I wanted a
chance to get some good pictures, so I hastily set up my camera and tripod in a
place where I could look down the first base line towards home plate - but the
first base coach and umpire blocked the view. I moved around the perimeter of
the outfield fence, stopping occasionally to set up the tripod and attempt to
get a clear view of the action at home plate - it seemed that there was always
someone standing in the way!
By the time I finally made it all the way around the fence to a spot near third
base, it was the bottom of the sixth inning...meaning I had as few as three
at-bats to work with in order to get a good shot. I took several fast-action
each pitch sequence, and I finally ended up with one I was happy with - the
"Picture Of The Day"!
I have always had a love for Little League Baseball. I used to watch the games as a young
child, and everything about them fascinated me. I loved the bright colors of the
uniforms under the stadium lights, the sound of the "crack of the bat" when a
batter hit a fastball, the excitement of chasing all the foul balls that found
themselves anywhere near where I was standing, seeing a runner slide into home
plate with the winning run...even the ever-present smell of freshly-mown grass.
The sights and sounds of those Little League games were almost overwhelming to
this skinny little kid looking out onto the field through the chain link
fence behind home plate. I knew I had to wait until I was 8 years old before I
could put on one of those bright, neatly pressed uniforms, and the suspense
built with each game and each season.
My dreams finally turned into reality in the spring of 1968. I would turn 8 in the
fall which meant I was finally old enough to play Little League Baseball! I
went to the try-outs and they placed me on "the bank's team" - the team sponsored by
the The Bank
I still clearly remember my first uniform and every detail about it: white
cotton shirt and pants with green stripes down the arms and legs, a large green
"BD" on the left front of the shirt and a huge number 8 on the back, a green
baseball hat with "BD" beaming from the brow, and what I thought was the coolest
thing a human being could wear... green "baseball socks" that slid up over a
pair of plain white socks. In my mind it was the socks that made a baseball
player a baseball player!
played Little League Baseball in Damascus, Virginia for four years, starting out in the
outfield, then moving to third base and finally catcher for the last two years
(my favorite position because I was "in" on every pitch when my team
was in the field!). I
went on to play baseball at other levels, but it was never quite as much fun as
my Little League years. Little League Baseball is all about fun - kids playing a
kids game just for the fun of it.
The fun part of playing the game tends to fade away as you move up from
level to level in the world of baseball. There comes a point when the primary
objective of the coaches (and to a lesser extent the parents) is winning
the game instead of having fun playing it.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for instilling a winning attitude in young players,
but winning should never be the primary reason for playing baseball.
In my mind, baseball should always be a kids game, played for fun
- even if the "kids" happen to
be major leaguers making millions of dollars a year.
I won't tell you who won the game yesterday because it really doesn't matter.
All that really matters is that a couple of dozen kids had a great time playing
ball on a beautiful spring afternoon. They came to the ballpark wearing crisp,
clean uniforms and they went home with the red clay dirt of the Damascus Little
League infield all over them - and that's the way it should be.
I'll always have a love for Little League Baseball because Little League is
baseball in its purest form. There is no overwhelming pressure on the coaches or
players to win at all costs (at least there shouldn't be), no player strikes, no
contract negotiations... Little League baseball is simply a bunch of kids playing a kids
game, excitedly peeking into the bleachers to see if mom and dad are watching as they
approach the plate, bat in hand...
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