The 2010 Little League Softball World Series is zipping along and I have a front-row seat to all the action! And we're not just talking about the games...we're talking parents and posters and dyed hair and foul balls knocking out wireless modems and yesterday, Frosted Flakes! That all makes sense if you were at Alpenrose Stadium with me :)
The weekend games of the LLSWS allow for some additional events, such as the Challenger Game (on the Alpenrose West field) and Fun Day, that help take the girls' focus away from softball, softball, softball. The team from the Southwest has a history of taking the lead as a buddy team for the Challenger kids and they have always been awesome about participating and connecting with the kids. The West team had just suffered a defeat at the hands of Southwest, but were nonetheless out on Alpenrose West field with these kids and families, also.
I have been a part of several Challenger games and they are always a treat. I find myself holding back tears as the afternoon unfolds...so much life and fun and struggle all spilling out at you on a softball diamond.
Alpenrose West field was specially enhanced and painted with the Challenger logo and spruced up to match Alpenrose Main by Mike Hebrard and Athletic Field Design, on a busy day when all three complex diamonds were played on and in need of field prep. Oregon District 4 Challenger kids played some ball in the heat with some new friends and with Tony the Tiger and without worrying about the number of outs or the pressures of must-win games. They played the game with a bat and a tee-ball and the world slowed down and smiled...
The weekend is also when the fatigue sets it, patience has run thin, the dirty laundry pile is higher, the heat and wind start to bother you, and some of the teams have suffered a loss or two and are now out of contention. Over the last ten years, I have witnessed girls and families bond stronger, commit to enjoying the experience, take deep breaths and enjoy the beauty and circus that is the nature of a Little League World Series. I have also seen tempers flare, strong words from coaches to 11 year old girls, tears of exhaustion, homesickness, and dissapointment...the stuff of life.
ESPN starts rolling in tomorrow and a new buzz will spark energy back into volunteers and participants of the Little League Softball World Series. There will be more smiles and more ice cream sold and lots more silliness and the macarena and life goes on. The girls and families have made an incredible journey this summer -- there is no other youth sporting event that compares to the LL Softball World Series.
Today's games start later as an Alpenrose tradition. Members of the Cadonau family still reside on the property, and out of respect for their peace and quiet, games never start before noon on a Sunday. I hope we see the same respect out on the ballfield today and in the stands today. I can think of thousands of kids and families that would love to be here... the kids and families who played on Alpenrose West field yesterday that will never have a chance to participate in a Little League World Series....what an honor and a treat, so ENJOY!
TOURNAMENT STANDINGS (as of 8/14/10)
Latin America 1-2
Oregon Dist. 4 (host) 1-1
Asia-Pacific (all games cancelled; team could not travel)
Canada vs. Southwest (noon)
Central vs. West (2:30pm)
EMEA vs. Southeast (5pm)
East, Latin America and Oregon have byes today.
Pool play continues through Monday. Semifinal games on Tuesday will feature match-ups of Pool A #1 vs. Pool B #2 at 4:30pm(PDT) live on ESPN2. The other semifinal game will follow at 6:30pm(PDT) with Pool A #2 vs. Pool B #1, also on ESPN2. The Championship Game will be played/aired on ESPN on Wednesday, August 18th, at 4pm(PDT).