What kind of person takes a championship away from a Little League team? Seriously. They’re kids, for goodness sake.
Jackie Robinson West, Chicago’s South Side Little League team that went to the league’s international championship, was stripped of its national title Feb. 11 for illegally expanding its boundaries before the 2014 season.
This happened almost two full months after Evergreen Park’s team coach called on Little League International to investigate whether the team broke residency rules, according to a Feb. 11 Chicago Tribune report.
I understand that the team’s boundaries were illegally expanded, but I see no value in rescinding a championship seven months after a team won it, especially a Little League team. I’m all for teaching kids about rules and how the world works, but I don’t believe in sore losers complaining about a loss. It’s not like the JRW kids were all older, more experienced players. The league should have already filtered cheating teams out before they could get to the world’s stage—the World Series.
Rules are in place for a reason, and I disagree with the saying that they are meant to be broken. That said, this team received national glory on top of becoming Chicago’s heroes, and the JRW players won fair and square athletically speaking, so they should not be punished for the alleged mistakes of adults.
According to the Tribune report, the national title now goes to the Las Vegas team that JRW beat in the national championship game. Rewarding everyone goes against what I believe in when it comes to youth sports. However, I definitely believe that positive reinforcement is critical for kids. Still, these Vegas kids simply did not win.
It’s like Kenny Williams, White Sox executive vice president, said in a separate Feb. 11 Tribune report—these kids are not just champions because they won the athletic competition. They are champions because of the way they carried themselves on and off the field. They unified a city and created history as the first all-black Little League team to win the national championship.
Major League Baseball did not take away Barry Bonds’ 762 career home runs even though he was using performance-enhancing drugs, nor did they take away his MVP awards, his Gold Glove Awards, Silver Slugger Awards or record for the most home runs hit in a single season. If the MLB won’t take accomplishments away from a grown man who was proved to be a cheater, then why take a championship away from kids?
People who ruin sports for kids should not be allowed to coach little league or anything like it.
Oh, and for those who were still wondering, Chris Janes, vice president of the Evergreen Park Athletic Association, prompted the initial investigation into the team’s alleged violations. He’s the kind of person who takes a championship away from a little league team, and he’s probably the kind of person who takes candy from a baby, too.