Skip to main content

Everyone Loses in Disqualification of Jackie Robinson West


Although I work in the field of sports and recreation, and the expansion of said field is due to the burst of interest and overall growth of sports in our culture which very much supports my career, I am deeply saddened to learn what has become of the Little League team from Chicago - Jackie Robinson West.

It's quite easy to really jump on what is clearly the obvious in this situation - that adults ruin youth sports. And it's very true. From the overbearing parents, the loud, obnoxious coaches who aren't qualified to instruct the game but simply mimic the over-aggressive stereotype they see on television, or even yes, the outlets who place an unlikely and unnecessary burden on children at such a young age, it all can be very tough to watch from afar. Kids aren't kids anymore too often in youth sports. It's no longer 100% recreation. 

With that said, one of the greatest sports stories of 2014 is now considered a controversy, and really, a sham because of a rival local coach who blew the whistle (shame on you, sir), Jackie Robinson West directors and officials who submitted a false zoning grid to Little League Baseball (shame on all of you!), and of course, everyone else involved in covering, exposing AND now exploiting all of it.

Wrong is wrong. There is no way around that. But there was and is something so special about the group of kids from Jackie Robinson West. The all-black team who represent that the black baseball player isn't a dying breed. That baseball in the inner city is an escape, an art form, a substitute for other options, and yes, a viable way out of terrible options. Jackie Robinson West represented so much more for a city riddled with much more than zoning scandals and cover-ups that it united a community during those several weeks in August more so than the Bulls, White Sox, Cubs, Bears, or Blackhawks ever provided recently. 

It's such a funny situation that something so small as zoning laws, and even something petty about a local coach so chapped about losing that he tries to kill all of this good vibe and mojo, that bothers me to the core. Not just for youth sports, but for the accomplishments of those boys last summer. 

Regardless of where they went to school, where they take the field locally, or where they lay their heads down at night to sleep, they went out and played ball. Having fun, and being pretty damn good at it. 

Now, we as a society tell them, these black kids from inner city Chicago who despite doing everything right - especially considering all of the odds and statistics already going against them - that they are still in the wrong. And yes, it's nothing of your doing. 

Just something overly (and very) bothersome about this situation. All sides involved. After all, this is youth sports. This is supposed to just be Little League! 

Chalk another one up for the continued downfall of youth sports in our nation. 

Recently Read Posts

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 9/17/17

3 Up
1. JJ Wyatt - Not only has the man raised over $37M for Hurricane Harvey relief, but unlike many of the various charities we have become accustomed to, Wyatt is very transparent in how he will spend the money, and what he plans to do. Still in such awe of this. 
2. Tim Duncan - In the same spectrum as Wyatt is one of my favorite athletes, Tim Duncan. A native from the US Virgin Islands, Tim Duncan has been instrumental in Hurricane Irma relief by donating 20,000 pounds of food to the area. Such awesome stories in the midst of all these Natural disasters. The power of the human spirit is so great. 
3. Cleveland Indians - 22 Baseball games in a row. The Indians record winning-streak came to an end  this week, but it is damn impressive. Are they NOT the choice to make it back to the World Series from the American League? 
3 Down
1. London Attacks - SMH on these terrorists attacks. My heart goes out to those affected by more senselessness in the world. 
2. White House on Jemele Hill -…

Dope Sports Threads - Nike NBA Uniforms

When Nike was announced as the new provider of the NBA uniforms, formerly designed by Adidas, I was very intrigued on what the super creative company would do. The team of Adidas and the NBA always felt a little...well, off. Nothing wrong with either brand, they just don't seem like a good fit for one another. Hence, we got jerseys with sleeves and such under their term. 
Go back to soccer, Adidas. It's where you shine. 
Enter, Nike. And this is the perfect fit for the NBA. And thus far, the designs, names of uniforms, and feel for the upcoming aesthetics within the NBA is awesome. Again, Nike just doing Nike things. 
With the the new uniforms, as always, here are a few notes on the latest:

Pondering Picture #82

It's Welcome Week at the institution that I work at, and it's been quite the hectic week of meeting, greeting, and providing programming for new students. I'm also continuously amazed at the amount of international students we have, and the hearing the journey and testimony of their road to this point in their lives. 
Despite the rigorous joy, I sort of miss that peace of hiking the Ithaca, NY area just before this time. Loved chasing waterfalls...
Sorry TLC.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 9/3/17

3 Up
1. J.J. Watt - What started out as a mere fundraiser for Houston with a goal of a few hundred thousand dollars has turned into a mega-story with Watt raising over $18M for Harvey relief in Houston. Watt deserves so much credit. An athlete truly in-tune with his city and community. And really, one that just does good for others. 
2. Frances Tiafoe - Monday night's 1st round opener against Roger Federer was absolutely classic. The 19 year-old American took the great Federer into the final moments of a fifth set with some serious swag. Tiafoe surely made a name for himself, and I'll definitely be looking for him in the future. 
3. Yale University - Look, I'm all for changing names and tearing down statues of people who don't deserve it - like, those who really don't deserve it. Not because of our distorted version of history. Kudos to Yale taking a step in this direction removing Calhoun, a big time slavery advocate, as a name from one of their buildings. 
3 Down