They say art imitates life, but this weekend was so much sweeter. Picture a baseball team for players age 10. The coach driven by a desire to maintain a dominate winning season selects several premiere players stacking the odds in his favor. He ignores other kids in his district who are capable of playing, who have the desire to play, simply because the team’s record & his reputation are more important. (cue scenes from the Cobra Kai dojo, “Mercy is for the weak Mr. LaRusso.”)
Now picture another coach across town who decides to gather up the rejected kids and form a new team. With a lot of hard work and some key talent (in the form of my nephew) these kids not only master the fundamentals, but they end up having a good time. Can you imagine both teams meeting at the end of the season undefeated?
That was the scenario over two weeks ago. Like a scene out of Little Giants, the dominating Rangers met an underrated Astros team to decide who would be the division All-Stars this season. In their first meeting the Astros stunned the top team by playing to a draw. Superior pitching was met by excellent outfielding and when the dust settled the score was still 0-0. Even then the coaching differences were apparent. The Rangers team taunted the Astros with jeers “You couldn’t beat us!”, “We’re still number 1!” while the Astros players were thrilled that they matched up so well against the top-seeded team. The Rangers players stormed off the field in frustration refusing to congratulate their competitors for a good game.
Not since Rocky has there been such an undercurrent of anticipation & electricity before a rematch. This past weekend Michelle & I witnessed the Astros shock the pony league baseball community by defeating the Rangers 6-5 and moving to the #1 spot in their division. Only the NBA & NHL playoffs could compare to the level of excitement from this game. I’m always amazed when I see young athletes play with such incredible skill. You might think that the game would have ended like the Karate Kid with the underdog finally receiving recognition from his opponents, but reality is hardly that warm & fuzzy. While the kids don’t know any better it was the Ranger parents who demonstrated poor sportsmanship by chanting “We’re still #1” and telling the Astros “You only get lucky once.”
So much for life imitating art. Congrats to the Astros for remaining undefeated this season!