SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Philadelphia and the Taney Dragons

The Taney Dragons play another game in the Little League World Series today.  Mayor Michael Nutter is hosting an event in Center City to celebrate and cheer on the team.  While the gathering might draw the crowds that the World Cup did, I would suspect that over 1,000 people will show up to support this wonderful team and participate in a great story.

A girl pitcher.  A city team.  An integrated team.  A girl pitcher who is a great athlete, bright, a media star and who wants the media to talk with her teammates.  They might not win it all, but this team and the people behind it are a celebration.

A celebration of humble, earnest parents coming together to give their kids a good experience.  A Phil Jackson-like zen master of a manager who puts the kids and their experiences first.  By doing that and emphasizing the importance of the process, the rituals and, yes, the journey, this team wins.  It's not about lunatic dads roaming the sidelines, intimidating umpires and other coaches and bullying children because they themselves are frustrated with their lives and their jobs.  Clearly, there's something more than that, and that's why the team is where it is.

The Taney Dragons might not win the whole thing, but they have won a lot so far and taught people from all over a great deal of good things.  Sadly, bad news travels faster and grabs the headlines.  And it's summertime to boot, which means that at times people's attention wanders away from the news to vacations and other things.  But this is a compelling story worthy of telling and re-telling and sharing and teaching.  Amidst much turmoil and disappointment (which the immediacy of news and the overall availability of it constantly helps reinforce), there is a gem from the City of Brotherly Love that bears magnification and warrants celebration.

The Taney Dragons.

You go, girl. . . and boys!  You've taken so many so far already.

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