[I got this via a comment on my old post about Little League. I really can't believe people actually cheat at Little League, so I figured I'd repost it - Mark]
To whom it may concern, 7/4/2011
Honesty, Integrity, Trust, Humility, Gratitude and, above all, Service to others, are the values I aspire to instill in every child. If these are the core values of our future generations, we have tremendous hope for the future. Living our lives as examples of these, regardless of what has happened in the past, is the only example we can share that will have a profound effect on the children that we coach.
I trust in God
I love my country
And I will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best
For those who have never encountered these words before, they are Little League pledge and these words represent a conscious effort to maintain the integrity of a game that is played by children and instill the core values that make this world a better place.
A little over 8 years ago my wife and I saw a sign on the side of the road for our local Little League, Four County, from District 2 in Maryland. At the time my twins were three and we had the good fortune to be indoctrinated into a Little League T-Ball Clinic program by a manager that was enthusiastic and loved to teach. As we moved through the ranks my daughter lost interest but my son continued to love the game and played every spring & every fall. We joined the community of Little League Baseball. I personally have embraced the values and taught the most important lessons that we can teach every child. My son Christopher loves the game as I do.
Today we have encountered first hand the dark side of youth sports. As I have been appointed by our local board to be the manager of the 10/11 team, I have been tasked with assembling a team of All Stars to compete in the MD District 2 tournament and all the responsibilities that go along with that title. Those that are involved give their time to youth service freely. Many who serve on other youth related boards understand the differences between teaching competitive desire and core values. Little League is one of the organizations that holds closest to those values and my son is a better person because of it. Part of the responsibilities of being selected Manager is to assemble a tournament affidavit with proof of age and residency for all participants. This is a time consuming part of the process that is designed to maintain the integrity of the tournament.
Yesterday we encountered a breakdown in the process that followed with the investigation of the book of another team in another game yet this influenced the outcome of our game. A league in our district was found to have had a 12 year old player playing on the 10/11 team. This team had a victory in their first game after a first round bye. It was then discovered that the team had an ineligible player in their second game and they were required to forfeit the game they were currently playing. This team by virtue of its first round victory had found itself in the winner’s bracket while the team that they first played was sent to the loser’s bracket. All this transpired within the framework of the last 2 days. During the course of this discovery, the team that had lost to the team with the ineligible player was notified that a ruling was being made and the game that was in progress was to be suspended until it was sorted out. This suspension of play occurred during the 4th !
inning. After a delay of not more than 5 minutes the teams were told to resume play. The team that lost yesterday was my team and if everyone had followed the rules we would be rightly eliminated from the tournament.
Youth sports are reliant on trust between the organizations and the parents that register their children. Honesty is a law written into the fabric of all that we encounter and when deception, whether intentional or accidental, is discovered, the effects of the action have already begun to change the intended course of outcomes.
This brings us to what would be considered fair and equitable. Our team pulled a challenging draw at the formation of the tournament. We have a five team bracket and we drew the play in game. In order for our team to advance to the finals we would need to win 3 games in 3 days while the top of the bracket had one day off for the winner. As transpired our team won its first and then lost the second to the team that fielded the ineligible player. We then moved to the loser’s bracket where we played yesterday and had our game suspended in the 4th inning to determine the outcome of the ineligible player incident.
As the manager of this team and a believer & teacher of the core values of Little League Baseball, I respectfully request the consideration of reinstatement into the 10/11 Maryland District 2 All Star tournament by virtue of a won loss record of 1-1. It is my humble opinion that the game between Westminster Optimist Little League and Four County Little League should be nullified thus sending our team into the finals of the loser’s bracket against Thurmont Little League on 7/6/2011.
Majors Division Director
T-Ball Clinic Director
10/11 All Star Manager
Four County Little League, Mount Airy, MD
Post appeal update: The ruling of Little League was upheld today 7/5/2011. Westminster Optimist Little League is still playing in the 10/11 All Star tournament even though they played a game with an ineligible player, that was 12 years old, on their team on Saturday 7/2/2011. That game has been upheld and recorded as a win for Westminster Optimist Little League and Four County Little League has been eliminated from the tournament.
While Little League from the district standpoint is a volunteer organization, it must be remembered that the truth is the truth and living by any other means is detrimental to any organization, rules not withstanding.