Sunday, September 14, 2014

Back to Little League World Series and The Big Belisle

I've never had a firm grasp on "The Rules." I don't like them all that much when they don't make much sense to me. So it takes me a little longer to get there, and sometimes, I never arrive at all. Occasionally, I even manage to get into a whole lot of hot water. It's worth it. Back to the conviction that it's being jaded that creates the worst adults among us. The true hags of society.

Back to not playing by the rules when they don't make sense.

Back to a seventh grader being able to articulate the greatest struggle of humanity by writing an original song. Back to a 12 year-old having the humility to edit perfection. Back to admitting the frustration borne of loss, and the need, at any age, for teachers to remember and remind that who you were in the beginning was the very best you would ever be. It's easy to know your name; it's hard to be able to determine what it will stand for, and how hard you are willing to fight for it. 

The Cumberland American Little League stood in tears before their coach, David Belisle, after their 8-7 loss to Jackie Robinson West of Chicago, Illinois in the LL World Series. We are taught that if we fight really hard for something, and invest everything we have into accomplishing the desired result, victory is inevitable. The tears on the boys' faces, caught in that delicate brink of manhood, but rooted still to the rawness and honesty that only a child can express, placed their coach in the almost impossible position of using words to irrevocably alter the path of their manhoods. Turning points have that kind of power, and adults poised to affect the outcome bear a substantial responsibility. Those who do it right are heroes.

Back to Coach David Belisle setting a standard - and reminding those of us who may have forgotten - that A is about fighters. Sportsmanship. Never quitting. Back to playing the game the right way. The full story below. Back to time well spent never being in vain - a wonderful clip embodying the very best of the American spirit:

Click here for direct youtube link.  Rave on, Coach Belisle. Back to for the sheer fun of it being the reason to keep playing:

They love fighters
They like sportsman
They like guys who don't quit
They like guys who play the game right way.'s okay to cry. We're going to be friends forever. 


Rave on in the spirit of. . . doing it over and over and over again, as many times as it takes, because, well, it's fun. Rave on, Van Morrison. Drive on with wild abandon, uptempo, frenzied heels. Because it's awesome. Taking the time to listen to a song about a poet who died many centuries ago, but knew a thing or two about life, is a first step Back to A. The skeptics scroll onward in their rush to arrive at the end as if the bottom line is on par with enlightenment.

It's not. Never was. Back to taking a minute out of your busy day and listening. 

In the beginning, we do and act from the heart. It's maddening. Heartening. Uplifting. And sometimes, crushing.

It is learned behaviors and disappointments that instruct over time that it's best to hold back, to test the waters, to mistrust, to temper, to measure our spirits and hold back as if the end goal and the victor's circle are reserved only for the most controlled. The obedient. The ones who say it briefly. Back to believing brevity may be the soul of wit, but truth. . . well, that takes time, and patience, and the subtlety of thought and expression and effort. Patience for tangential thought and appreciation for the way it meanders and explores, but ultimately arrives at its destination is the soul of honesty.

We are molded to emulate those we perceive to have "won" the game, as if the emulation itself will be the impetus required to arrive at the destination. We are taught to associate only with winning teams, to spend far too much time and effort seeking approval and respect from ones who never deserved it in the first place. . . and to politely turn our heads and shun the ones with faces still marred by dust, sweat, and blood:

Back to tears when we have lost, because tears are okay and human.

Back to looking up to the few teachers who still remember why we began the journey, allowed us to embrace the defeat, then celebrated amidst its embers because therein lies the spark. Back to "let me see your eyes, guys," and the heroes among us who permit the equally critical placement of anguish, exhaustion, and bitter disappointment in that coveted arena we are taught is open only for the gold medalists.

If you want to see sparks, you have to have the patience to wait and the guts to endure a thousand defeats. You have to make like Heinz Ketchup and believe that good things come to those who wait. Back to 1986, remember?

Coldplay understands this because you have to wait a good long time before Chris Martin tells you what he saw. . . even if the title of the song gives it away. Because it's not the same as when he finally says it. When he says it, it's magic. Magic is reserved for those who wait. 


Do you?

Back to the men and women among us who empower and ignite, but also teach the importance of decency, fairness, and acknowledgement for those who push us to be better. . . congratulations to Bill Haley, director of Jackie Robinson West, and his father, who founded the team in 1971, and most of all, to the the young men from Chicago, Illinois and a well-played match.

Back to fine sportsmanship being a benchmark for those who truly love the game. Back to rising through defeat and knowing that how to lose is every bit as important a lesson as knowing how to win.

For those of us still on the journey? We talk too much - long after the game is over. We make a lot of noise. We push limits. We disturb the peace. We are avoided. We fumble long past the expiration date permitted for fumbling. We are foolish. We are flawed. We have questions. We wonder. We want to understand before we follow. We are explosions in your peaceful spaces. We will never stop.

Back to we are the crazy ones...because call us what you may, we will change the world in a way your mind will never conceive:

How? We have fun. Real joy, and a real fighting spirit, are not controlled things. WE drive on with wild abandon, uptempo, frenzied heels. We are feared, too, because it's a forgotten way of winning. A victor's lap you all knew how to run, but were taught to forget by teachers who gave up too early and pushed you to follow, not question, the rules. Back to pushing the limits of every accepted comfort zone, because we believe in change, be it decor, lifestyle, justice, sports, or our individual pursuits. Some people talk about capturing the essence of youth. Others just live as if they are.

We are forever young. We do not get deterred when we are told we are wrong. There is no arrogance in moral conviction. Only truth.

And in our own slow and steady true course, we always win because we know sometimes a step backward is the only way forward. 

A is for always


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