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All Black Little League Champs Show The Possibilities
Little League Champs Give Us A Blue-print For Success
When the Chicago Jackie Robinson West little league team beat Nevada 7 to 5 to capture the United States championship at the Little League World Series last weekend, they did more than just win a title.
They made history, becoming the first all-black team to win the Little League championship. In 1955, an all black little team qualified for the World Series, but was not allowed to play. But let's save that somber piece of history is for another time, because not even an 8-4 loss to South Korea in the International World Series title game on the following day could put a damper of their historic achievement.
What is so remarkable about Jackie Robinson West winning the U.S. title, and being the No. 2 team in the world, is baseball supposed to be dying sport in the African-American community. Money, facilities, and lack of interests are some of the reasons behind the dwindling numbers. http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10787176/mlb-blacks-losing-numbers-game
In addition, the JRW kids (ages 11 and 12), came from communities across the Windy city where young black men are being killed at an alarming rate. They gave those communities something to celebrate, in addition to giving them a blue-print for success.
The Jackie Robinson West baseball team is a sparkling example of what young black boys can accomplish when they have instruction, discipline, determination and nurturing. And if those young men can be taught the intricate skills to play baseball better than any group of kids in America, they can be taught a myriad of other skills, sciences and ???.
The blue-print is not an endeavor too tough for our young black boys to take on. In fact, it is nothing earth shattering at all. It is a plan grounded in the principals that have helped Americans prosper for decades.
For those kids to become national champions, and the second best little league team in the world, it took a team effort.
The coaches had to teach and hone their skills. Then there are the parents. Among the dozens of things that simply come up in the every day life of a child, the Jackie Robinson West parents had to get the kids to and from practice on a consistent basis. That is no small thing considering the economics facing many African-American families in Chicago. They had to provide their children with solid a solid foundation at home.
Then you have the boosters. They boosters play an important role in provided support, perhaps financially, or merely by cheering the team on no matter what the circumstances. The boosters do whatever they can do to support the team.
Finally, after the support from the parents, coaches and boosters, the Jackie Robinson West players had to decide how much they wanted to win. They had to work hard in practice, and study the finer points after practice. They had to show discipline on and off the field.
It was their job to take all of that instruction and information to the diamond and execute the game plan.
Clearly, these young men were up for the challenge. Watching the coverage on the ABC television network you could see the determination on their faces. They cheered for each other. They fought for each other.
When pitcher, Joshua Houston, was in tears after giving up a home run, and the lead (5-4) in the top of the bottom of the fifth inning (in the six inning game) his coaches, teammates and parents and boosters in the stands, rallied behind him.
They lifted young Joshua up. Chicago rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth to take the lead, and won the game an inning later with a marvelous double play that any big league team would be proud of.
The point here is this: What if African-American communities across the country took that same approach to raising its children? And what if we gave them instruction, and nurtured their skill sets? And what if we were there to offer them support and guidance? Finally, what if we picked them up when they were down, the way Joshua Houston's teammates did?
If we could employ the same tactics that helped the Jackie Robinson West baseball team become champions, we could deliver an entire generation of young men and women who will be champions in life.