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Why I Don't Like The Little League World Series

Patch editor David Mills discusses why he doesn't like the Little League World Series

This might be borderline un-American, but I'm sorry, I don't like the Little League World Series.

Now, I have nothing against Little League itself. In fact, it's a fine organization, the largest youth sports organization in the world.

The nonprofit organization allows 2.6 million children worldwide to play the game of baseball. Its coaches and adult volunteers provide a multitude of lasting learning experiences for these young players.

This column is also not intended to disrespect the Petaluma Little League team, which finished up a fine season on Sunday by winning the consolation game in the World Series championship round.

The Little League games played week in and week out are wonderful. I don't even object to regional playoff tournaments.

But that's where it should end. At the local level.

There is no reason to subject 12-year-olds to the rigors and stress of a statewide or national or worldwide tournament.

High school sports only rise to the state level. College sports only compete at the national level.

Why does Little League need to thrust itself on the world stage?

It's simply too much pressure to put on young boys who are just hitting the age of puberty.

I really believe the Little League World Series is for the adults' benefit. It is an opportunity for the grown-ups, many of whom perhaps did not have a high-level athletic experience when they were young, to experience the thrills of sudden death playoffs.

It's too much for pre-teens. We do see the happy 12-year-olds who jubilantly  celebrate their victories.

However, we rarely see the devastated middle school students on the losing side. The youngster who struck out with runners in scoring position. Or the infielder who booted a groundball at a crucial moment. Or a pitcher who gave up a critical homerun.

There are plenty of youngsters in these tournaments who suffer through the wrath of a normally calm coach or parent who lets their emotions get out of control during the tense moments of these must-win games.

I'm not alone in this opinion. Former Oakland Raiders head coach John Madden expressed reservations last week on KCBS radio about the Little League World Series.

Bad experiences at this level can be scarring for young athletes. And it's not necessary. There's no reason to make Little League baseball a worldwide experience with live television coverage and hordes of other media attention.

Little League baseball is a wonderful experience at the local level. Let's keep it there. At the local level.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John.Maher August 29, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Lighten up David. :-) Click here and sing along with all those happy kids: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CU99u-Uy5OQ
Ptown August 29, 2012 at 10:59 PM
What is the point of writing this piece now? No good answer.
Concerned Citizen II August 30, 2012 at 03:58 AM
Seriously, did you even play sports as a kid? It is a GAME. Win or lose, I can only imagine the life lessons the teams attending the LLWS learned through this amazing experience. Yes, the spotlight is a bit brighter on the big stage. More cameras. More buzz. That just multiplies how ridiculously cool and unforgetable it would be though the eyes of a 12 year old. Fortunately for kids, life hasn't yet tainted their view of the world. Adults take themselves WAY too seriously. It reminds me of an amazing quote: “You probably wouldn't worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do.”- Olin Miller As a kid, I played on a team that went 0-26. We sucked and knew it. We weren't coddled and given participation ribbons. Somehow we found the strength to survive. Life isn't always fair. Let the kids play. Forget the cheaters and egos in the majors... I'd rather watch the little guys play. True heroes.

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