Keller: Here is one time when young kids show more maturity

August 10, 2011|By MARK KELLER
  • Mark Keller, Herald-Mail Sports Editor
Mark Keller, Herald-Mail Sports Editor

“Racial and gay slurs.”

“A slew of profanity, particularly by people trying to disperse an angry crowd.”

“A mother who was allegedly grabbed and pushed against a fence, causing an arm injury she had examined at the hospital.”

No, those sentences are not from a story about the recent riots in London. Those sentences appeared in The Herald-Mail last Thursday in a story about a confrontation at a local Little League Baseball tournament game.

A game played by 7- and 8-year-olds.

Why 7- and 8-year-olds are playing in tournaments is beyond me. At that age, it should be all about teaching the game and nothing to do with keeping score or statistics.

Unfortunately, those 7- and 8-year-olds got an education when they got caught up in the middle of this recent incident.

After reading our story about the incident, then reading the online comments about the story, there are differing opinions on what exactly happened that night.

That’s to be expected. One of my favorite song lyrics sums up that situation.

There’s three sides to every story: Yours and mine and the cold, hard truth.

“Long Way Home” — Don Henley

I wasn’t there, so I don’t know exactly what happened. But for my purposes, what exactly happened doesn’t matter. What matters most is this: A police officer who responded to the scene of the incident said the initial report was for a fight involving 50 people.

That alone is disturbing enough.

It doesn’t matter where it took place.

It doesn’t matter which leagues were involved.

It doesn’t matter if it was resolved quietly.

It doesn’t matter if five people or 50 people were involved.

What matters is that some adults, who are supposed to be caretakers and role models for those 7- and 8-year-olds, allowed themselves to get so swept up in a Little League game that they temporarily lost their minds.

It’s likely that a relatively minor action or comment sparked the incident. But when pride rears its head and parents begin to feel the need to protect their kids, that minor action or comment becomes major.

It’s not the first time something like this has happened at a Little League game, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

During the Maryland 11-12 Tournament at Maugansville, a parent from one team walked to the opposing dugout and began to yell at the coach because he thought it was unsportsmanlike for his players to be cheering and chanting while the pitcher from his team was on the mound.

As if that was sportsmanlike.

Just two weeks ago, I wrote how those players in the state tournament will have a lifetime of memories whether they won or lost.

Unfortunately for these 7- and 8-year-olds, this memory will stick with them for a long time, too.

And that’s the cold, hard truth.

Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7728 or by email at keller@herald-mail.

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