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I want every person involved with youth sports to see this

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I just watched something that made me incredibly happy.

On Saturday night the baseball teams from my Delaware Blue Hens and the Arizona Wildcats met in an NCAA Tournament elimination game in Lubbock, Texas. It was a helluva battle—back and forth, back and forth until the score was tied at 5 heading into the 11th inning.

That’s when a lightning storm broke out, and the matchup was delayed for more than two hours. Yet instead of locking themselves inside their clubhouses, the members of the Hens and Wildcats opted to break out the quirky glee and engage.

First, there was a heated contest of tic-tac-toe, sketched out on a baseball that was rolled from one dugout to the other. That, it seems, ended in a draw …

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Second, there was an intense game of baseball bowling …

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsThird, the two teams arranged what was referred to as a “slow man challenge”—pitting two pitchers (Arizona’s Luke Soroko and Delaware’s Scott Zimmer) in a sprint from the infield to the centerfield wall. It was, if one goes by the tape, something of a mismatch. While Soroko isn’t exactly tiny (he’s 6-feet and 198 pounds), Zimmer stands six inches taller and weighs 60 pounds heavier.

Anyhow, with the members of both teams screaming and cheering and laughing and people in the stands roaring with delight, Soroko and Zimmer bolted (well, sorta hard-trotted) toward the outfield, where the Wildcat won quite handily …

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Wait. I digress.

Why do I think those involved with youth sports need to see this? Why do I want the heads of all youth baseball leagues to show these clips at the start of the next season? Well, because it’s lighthearted. And fun. And joyful. And a reminder of what sports can—and should—be.

Cliche coach speak be damned, not every moment on a diamond needs to focus upon winning-winning-winning-winning. Uniform shirts don’t always have to be tucked in just so. Athletes don’t eternally need to be considering the next at-bat, or analyzing the last at-bat. Jokes should be told. Giggles unsuppressed.

You’re allowed to have fun.

Hell, you should have fun.

That Arizona won, 6-5, is wonderful for the Cats and sad for the Hens. Ultimately, though, what I’ll remember isn’t the game or the final tally.

It’ll be the joy.

3 replies on “I want every person involved with youth sports to see this”

This Arizona team is just wired like that…last year’s run to the championship series involved all kinds of oddities including a very important box of Cheez its. It starts at the top. Was awesome to see Delaware’s philosophy was similar. Sadly, this couldnt have happened in many matchups

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