Our staff rookie Noah Kutz dropped in on opening night of the Little League championships at Tempe Sports Complex and found himself transported back to his own formative years in the Great American Pastime. His recollections herewith:
By Noah Kutz
It’s incredible how familiar sounds and smells can cause us to reminisce on times past—memories which most call “the good old days.”
The resounding crack of the bat, the smell of dirt and grass, the tumultuous cheers from spectators transported me from the Little League game in South Tempe back to my earlier days on our community baseball team several years ago.
For many of us, the best part of summer nights was playing the game on a team or with our families and neighborhood friends.
Though I never realized it at the time, I can look back on those moments now and see how they truly influenced my life growing up.
“It’s a really good experience for not only the kids but the families,” said Nick Bastian, dad to Cole and Will Bastian of the Tempe South All Stars team.
“Everybody comes together to support the teams and the clubs, all the way down to the little Kid Pitch games.”
From fans to teammates, character development and an atmosphere of camaraderie occur at each game and in every practice, which translates to their everyday lives at home.
Jane Hammer, coach of the Chandler American All Stars team added her view:
“Part of what we teach these kids is it’s not all about being able to throw the ball 70 miles per hour or hitting home runs—it’s about being a team and being present and being your best self, not necessarily the best player on the field.”
On top of being a wife, mother, and coach, Jane also owns and operates a business, Jack of All Designs. Her son Carson has been playing the sport since he was four years old and plans on making it to the big leagues one day (and I can assure you, these kids have what it takes).
In retrospect, the times spent practicing, playing and hanging out with the team during our vacations were some of the moments that form the picture of my childhood in my head. The cultivation of teamwork and sportsmanship that ensued from those hot summer days are the things that I remember and look back on—not the correct way to stop a ground ball or swing a bat.
Truly, both parents and players who go through the Little League programs will be able to reminisce in their experiences and wish they could go back to the team meetings, community barbecues, sporting goods stores, practices, games and, quite simply, those good old days.