Despite Video-Game Mania,,
Little League Baseball Still Hits It Off With Kids

Having conceded some time ago that the usual childhood in America is being despairingly twisted by the current popularity of moronically violent video games, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the nation's young have not been entirely removed from what is generally considered a bedrock of normal American development: Little League Baseball.

I was recently invited by a dear friend to attend a game, in which, expectedly enough, her son was playing.

I was game to go partly because I myself had had taken part, if ever so briefly, in the sport in my own adolescence. My career as a pitcher ended when I unfortunately beaned the coach and voluntarily walked off the field, so shamed I swore never to return again.

Still unconvinced that the time-worn throwback could still attract our youth, even in this digitally bedazzled age, I went off to the event.

Sure enough, there upon the field were arrayed preteens and teenagers, outfitted in baseball uniforms touting the usual major league properties – such as the Mets and the invariable Dodgers.

Within hardly an inning, the gamesters proved capable, not only of pitching, catching, and hitting the ball, but of actually being able to become excited by participation in the traditional pastime.'

I sat there while daylight faded and the lights came on, winningly assured that there is hope for the youth of America and, by extension, to resilient youth everywhere.

Evidently, they have not been so entirely vitiated by all the bells and whistles of video mayhem that they cannot be redemptively engaged by just picking up a bat and hoping to hit a homer.

Most promising of all, when the game was over, each team lined up and, winner or loser, the players were obliged to shake one another's hands to demonstrate their good sportsmanship.

I considered how, when I view the calculated doings in the wide world and our general fair-mindedness, despite the ever-present treacery, I think how importantly America's overall outlook is shaped by something as straightforeward as our early training in good sportsmanship.

At least, to the extent baseball can bolster our national character, we still seem to be batting quite well.


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