I think we all have those times in our lives when something triggers really good memories from the past.
Finding old photos or letters in the bottom of a shoebox while cleaning out an attic. Passing by a restaurant where you took your significant other on your first date or, like Facebook likes to help us do on occasion, looking at old posts of what you where doing a number of years ago.
Occasionally, at least for me, those thoughts and memories take me in another direction. It did Wednesday night.
Let me explain.
After finishing up my Seneca High School golf preview, I hopped on Facebook. The top of my newsfeed reminded me that two years ago I was in Indianapolis covering the Streator 12-Year-Old Little League All-Stars at the Great Lakes Region. While that was a great experience for all Streator players, coaches, parents, grandparents and fans, it was also pretty great for me. I'd only been a full-time sports writer for The Times for about six months, but there I was. I'll admit I was a little worried I'd screw the assignment up, but all in all it was a great learning experience.
Now I'm not sure why, I'm guessing algorithms or some other internet magic, the following post was linked to me from the Little League Baseball Facebook page which I "liked" years ago. It was also obviously all over ESPN SportsCenter that night as well.
The post showed a video from the LLWS New England Regional game between Pittsfield, Mass., and Coventry, R.I., played earlier in the day. The 32-second clip showed Pittsfield's Evan Blake launching a home run over the center-field scoreboard and rounding the bases in his team's 10-1 win, advancing them to today's championship game.
I was like, "Wow! That was a monster shot!"
I watched the video a couple more times, and besides the home run I noticed a few other things. The ball was hit so hard and high that the Coventry center fielder didn't even take one step back, knowing the ball was long gone. Then I saw the Coventry third baseman and pitcher (who gave up the long ball) give Blake high-fives as he passed them in a sign of sportsmanship.
I will say: I'm old school when it comes to giving a batter a "congrats" after a moment like that, but I know times have changed from 37 years ago when I was giving dingers up. I realize in today's world it's what kids do, but it still bothers me a little.
Now of course as many of you who use Facebook know, there are often replies by others on posts, and I made the mistake of reading, first the top ones, then the rest as I scrolled down.
I guess I can say at first I was a little shocked at what I read from others voicing (typing in?) their thoughts.
"How old is that kid?" one wrote. "The fact that he drove himself to the game and shaved during BP wasn’t a signal to anyone?" wrote another. "Big deal, kid hit a home run over a 225' fence with a bat hotter than the sun," yet another posted, and there were plenty more like those.
"Holy smokes," I remember thinking. "Why so much negativity about a kid (yes, a kid) hitting a home run?"
I then watched the video one last time. No doubt, Blake is a tall young man, but like another poster pointed out, "Kids grow different, some get those big growth spurts early, and then level out later when the little guys shoot up way late! It’s not rocket science."
Like I wrote earlier, I was shocked, but now after a few days to think about it, unfortunately I'm more shocked that I was even shocked in the first place.
In sports, and in every walk of life for that matter, there is always going to be those out there that will want to tear down, bad mouth, diminish or belittle accomplishments of others ... it's been going on since people started walking this earth and probably will be for many generations to come.
It is sad, indeed it is. It just shows we still have a long way to go when it comes to giving credit where credit is due.