On Sunday, August 26, 2007, the final game of the Little League World Series was played in Williamsport, Pa. and broadcast nationally on a major network. Two teams of 11- and 12-year-olds were playing for the championship. One team was from Japan and the other team was from Warner Robins, Ga. The game was a close one and went into extra innings. In the bottom of the eighth inning the first batter from Georgia connected for an over-the-fence home run that won the game. The Japanese pitcher immediately fell to the ground in tears.
Usually teams will gather on their respective sides and shake hands with one another as a sign of good sportsmanship. Then the winning team gathers back in its dugout for a victory celebration. This time though, the Georgia team spontaneously began making its way out to the pitcher’s mound to console the opposing pitcher. Soon the other Japanese players were out there and the Georgia team began hugging them, putting their hands on their shoulders and giving them words of encouragement. It was one of the most amazing moments that I have ever witnessed in sports.
For a moment, members of the winning team forgot about their own celebration, instead empathizing with their competitors. Had one pitch gone the other way, they could have been the ones facing this brief, but real emotional trauma. It might have only been a game, but the feelings were real, and the response from the Georgia team was an example of how we should always respond to people in agony. It was Isaiah who said, “And a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6, NKJV). Indeed they did! I may forget the score and the year, but I will never forget what I saw—an amazing act of random kindness.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another…” Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
By: Glenn Burris Jr., general supervisor