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Baseball in Small Town America

Friday, May 09, 2008

I recently had the privilege of experiencing Opening Day of Little League for the town of Delmar, Maryland and Delmar, Delaware. (Delmar is "the little town too big for one state" and sits on the border of Delaware and Maryland and has an interesting make-up due to the fact that the town is split down the middle by the state line.)

I played Little League baseball back in the day, but we never had anything to resemble what I witnessed and participated in a couple of Saturdays ago. In honor of Opening Day, Delmar Little League puts on a parade - complete with all of the teams in their own floats (okay, mostly just in the backs of pickups or on trailers pulled by pickups), candy being thrown out to the folks lined up along the parade route, the high school marching band, the town police and other emergency vehicles, etc. It was pretty neat to see the parade go by and see all the players from all of the divisions (from t-ball on up) in their uniforms and excited to get ready to play their first day.

Following the parade were some opening day activities at the National League field. Since this is the 50th year that Delmar has chartered Little League Baseball, there was some extra things that normally do not occur. Local politicians played a roll - including representatives from both Maryland and Delaware due to the nature of the town's bi-state residence. Plaques were presented, balls were thrown out, the National Anthem was played by the marching band, even a benediction was made (during the parade, I was asked to give the benediction). It was a pretty neat spectacle.

Since this was a special 50th year celebration, they assembled the first ever all-star team of Delmar Little League and they honored the man who hit the first ever home run in Delmar Little League history - by giving him the ball that he hit many years ago in a nice casing. (In preparation for the celebration, someone asked his mom - and sure enough, she still had the baseball tucked away in the attic after all these years - my kind of mom!!)

After the ceremonies, there were games on all of the fields and bar-b-q chicken and cotton candy and the concession stands were open. In addition to the festivities, God gave us a beautiful day for baseball.

One of the events that were included in the festivities was the recital of the Little League pledge.

I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best

When I looked out over the great group of young people assembled and heard them repeat this pledge, I thought how great it would be if this first line were indeed true of all of these kids. Would to God that some of these young people - perhaps even some on Josiah's team - will come to really understand that first line in the Little League pledge this year.

Just my thoughts,



Don Johnson said...

Hey, Frank, your post describes one of the things that I REALLY love about America. We don't have anything like this up here, even though we are universally insane about hockey. The best features of Americana are exhibited by this kind of communal joy.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3