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Perspective: Big lessons from a little league

Keith Johnston

When athletic ability was handed out, I wasn't just in the back row — I was in the very back of the top tier of the upper deck. Instead, sports interest and ability would go to my second-oldest sister who, not surprisingly, would become a physical education teacher.

But there is one athletic event for which I clear my schedule every year, and it takes place this weekend. The Little League World Series has become a “must see” television event for me each August.

Even without the expectation of watching a national and then international championship, this year has already given me heartwarming moments. It was hard to hold back tears as I watched a batter, who had just been hit by a pitched ball, walk out to the mound to hug the obviously distressed pitcher and assure the boy he was ok. This was absolutely the best antidote to the toxic masculinity which sometimes degrades the adult sporting world. The sportsmanship which the Little League player exhibited that moment was priceless.

Another player is rallying to recover after falling from a bunk bed, and both his teammates and his team's opponents have joined in supporting him as he slowly heals from a serious head injury. This is what it is about, sports fans, and I hope the adult world can learn a lesson from it.

I'm Jim Kline, and that is my Perspective.

DeKalb County resident Jim Kline grew up in Genoa and earned a B.S. in Communications from the University of Illinois and an M.S. in Outdoor Teacher Education from Northern Illinois University.