By Braddah Lance
In case you haven't heard, Hawaii is/was well represented in the Little League World Series from the famed Little League division (Waipio 11-12 year olds) to the Junior League division (Hilo 13-14 year olds) and last but not least in the Senior League divison (Pearl City 14-16 year olds).
Pearl City came up short failing to qualify for the semi's. Hilo did make us proud and made it to the World Series but fell to Curacao 5-2 in a very exciting game with the tying run at home. Hilo's power hitter cracked a deep shot to the warning track for the final out - literally inches short of a home run. And of course our Waipio Little Leaguers... still alive and guaranteed a spot in the US semifinals beginning Wednesday trying to repeat what the Ewa Beach Little Leaguers did just three years ago.
In Sunday's game, Waipio beat Florida 10-2 and it was the first Little League division game I seen this year (had the DVR set in case I missed this one and I'm glad I didn't - heckuva game!) but one thing I noticed in particular was the bright yellow patch above the normal Little League patch on the left arm:
In case you can't make it out it says, "I WON'T CHEAT!"
Wassap Wit Dat!
Granted the past handful of years have gone with some speculation and guilty teams of having ineligible players playing but it isn't the players who cheated... it was the coaches/adults/parents!!!
I cannot believe that the Little League would have a patch like that so brazenly sewn on the arms of the keiki when the kuleana solely goes to the adults. The parents should be aware of the district and age requirements. The coaches review the applications. The director(s) review the roster compliance's.
What does da keiki do but suit up and play where the parents sign them up to play? A keiki doesn't know how to cheat.
A keiki learns to cheat from the adults wanting their kid to shine. A keiki learns little "dirty" tricks from people who show them. A keiki mimics the attitude and sportsmanship display of those who are with them hours on end.
I was curious as to why the patch is on. Nothing from the commentators - which is rare because stories of interest are usually repeated throughout several games - and believe it or not, nothing from the Little League site(s) themselves (I've tried searching and Google'ing for over an hour). All I could find was that it's part of a program started by former major league slugger Dale Murphy inline with his foundations slogan of "Injecting Ethics into America's Future" and that was on some San Diego forum.
Unless the whole idea of the patch is for keiki to "step up to the plate" and recognize what is right an wrong then act accordingly?
In my 15 years of coaching I've seen the gamut of coaches from those who don't know anything about the sport but coach to help out to coaches who only care about the "W" but following the rules solely rests on the shoulders of the coach.
I for one have experienced a few incidences where there have been ineligible players playing against us. Parents actually forge their son's birth certificate or use the infamous "aunty or grandparents address" so they can play. I have turned away players because they were "out of district" and referred them to the proper team or those who missed the cutoff date by one day (yes, it has happended to me three times) I had to say sorry, no can even after they plead their case.
There are also times where the rules are a little gray - and people push those quite often - but if a morally right person were to follow the intent, there would be no gray.
Too bad the world doesn't work that way.
It reminds me of the Scarlett Letter... only the "letter" is on the wrong person.
DA PIDGIN WORD OF DA DAY! -
(as quoted from Da Kine Dictionary & Pidgin To Da Max… wit a Braddah Lance twist)
(koo lei AH na)
Haole Translation: Responsibility, job
Use: To point out one's responsibility or duty
Sentence: “It's da coaches kuleana fo' make sure da team legit.”
Sentence: “It's da keiki's kuleana fo' get to practice.”