No matter how many people are on board, there is always, always room on the bandwagon. I should know, I hop on enough of them.
It’s well-documented I’m not a fan of baseball. The game requires more patience and appreciation of statistics and nuance than I can fake.
But when it comes to Little League — or any youth sport —no acting is required. The game is elevated from pastime to quick getaway.
Take a moment to stop and watch a kids’ ballgame and you’ll be treated to refreshing moments of excitement, joy, hope, pride and comedy mixed with dashes of disappointment and perspective.
In baseball it’s, at times, difficult to discern which is louder, the sound of a ball smacking against an aluminum bat or the voices of adults cheering for the wispy kid making solid contact.
At soccer games it is equally amazing watching boys and girls at the 5- and 6-year-old level tirelessly race their tiny legs up and down the field and then stop mid-stride because of an interesting blade of grass that caught their eye.
And while in adulthood it might be considered a demonstration of unacceptable conceit and pride, in youth basketball it’s perfectly acceptable for a player to give himself a high-five for completing a pass, and then solicit and accept ones from players and coaches on the other team.
Professional sports — played by those who are paid from a mere living wage to those who sign multi-year, multimillion- dollar contracts — provide their own brand of joy too.
But, like youth and carefree summer days, those moments are fleeting and forgotten. In all likelihood, you’re probably more likely to remember when a son or daughter hit their first ball (and the pride you both felt) than you are when a professional slugger hit another home run.
Youth and youth sports provide an opportunity not just for the players but for observers to live in the moment. Watch a game for a few minutes and you forget about the weekend to-do list or the looming budget report that requires late night attention. A few minutes at the field means a few minutes away from the world that is adulthood.
So it’s no wonder the bandwagon is a popular vehicle when team’s like Eastlake’s Little League All-Stars or Municipal de Tijuana get one step closer to the Little League World Series tournament this weekend. The games and the players offer bystanders a respite and distraction from the details of everyday life. It’s a chance to be in the moment.
Good luck to both teams on either side of the border. You have plenty of fans who are enjoying the ride for as long as it lasts.