Watched Little League World Series ball game today on ESPN between a team from Uganda vs a team from Gresham, Oregon. Not sure how far into tournament they are but know this was not the championship game between these two teams.
Baseball is a fairly new sport in Uganda and the announcers said some of the players on the Uganda team had only been playing baseball for the last month or two.
While it was obvious the U.S. team was the more skilled and polished team, the score stayed close with the Oregon team up only 2 to 0 with two innings left to play. The underdog Uganda team was then able to put together a couple hits and with the help of wild pitch by the U.S. pitcher took the lead 3 to 2 and held on for the win.
After the game both teams lined up and shook hands as is tradition but this time it was little different from what one is used to seeing from many older athletes. There was no sign of poor sportsmanship or complaining by the Oregon team after losing a close game that they had not only been the heavy favorite but had lead the entire game until the last inning or two.
Instead of seeing some Oregon players grumbling or moping after the loss and walking around with their heads down shaking their opponents hands half heartedly, I saw the Oregon players with big smiles on their faces as they hugged and congratulated the winners and wished them good luck in their future games.
You could tell the Ugandan team did not have all the nice equipment and accessories that the other teams had. I noticed while watching the game that no one on the Uganda team wore batting gloves. Then in a class act of sportsmanship and compassion the Oregon ball players each gave their batting gloves to one of the Uganda players while shaking hands with the Uganda team after the game. This brought even bigger smiles to already thrilled Uganda players.
Not to sound to mushy but it truly was a Hallmark moment.
Re: Great sportsmanship
Great story indeed. It was in the "friendship round", but nonetheless....
Remindful of the World Baseball Classic 3 years ago, when The Netherlands knocked off The Dominican Republic in a pool play game and went on to the final round. My half-breed kids and their wooden shod Mother were estatic over it all. Former Twin, Hall of Famer and TV analyst Bert Blylevan was the Dutch pitching coach. Improbable results are always fun to see..