No, I am not talking about our President.
Jackie Robinson West Little League is the latest of cheaters to come to the Little League World Series. As I watched the story unfold it truly made me sad. It was such a special LLWS this past year. Great games and great teams made the 75th anniversary of Little League a year to remember. Unfortunately now it will be remembered for the wrong reason.
Steve Keener and his staff at Little League do an outstanding job of managing the largest youth sports organization in the World. Steve's character and caring about the game is second to none. Little League has devoted so much time and effort to prevent what has happened with Jackie Robinson Little League.
I know the procedure that is gone through first from the selection of All-Stars and approval of eligibility by the League’s Board of Directors and local District Administrator to the team’s paperwork along with pitching record follows them through each level as they advance. The District Administrator also follows the team. Incidentally a player must provide an original birth certificate and three proofs of residency. The teams affidavit is reviewed at the state regional tournament, state championship tournament, national regional tournament and then finally if the team has the good fortune to reach the World Series.
Little League has an excellent system in place to make sure the players live within the boundaries of the league they are representing. When a parent or guardian, League President, Board of Directors and All-Star managers do the paperwork and sign off that a player lives within these boundaries and this is then approved by a District Administrator, what are you going to do?
The bottom line is simple. If a league is going to cheat, they are going to cheat. If grown men and women are going to lie and conspire about a game played by 11 and 12-year-olds in an effort to cheat and win at all costs, there is not much that can be done.
It falls back on the folks that run every local Little League in the Country to follow the rules. Over two million ball players compete in Little League in the United States alone. The more populated an area is the tougher to figure out boundary eligibility. How could Little League Headquarters ever sift through all that? They cannot. Only those in a local league know where a player resides.
The Little League Pledge: "I trust in God. I love my Country and I will accept its laws. I will play fair and strive to win. But win or lose I will always do my best." And let’s not forget the patch worn by every player at the LLWS “I Won’t Cheat”.
The freedom we are blessed with provides an opportunity to do much worse than cheat at baseball. If all Americans followed the Little League Pledge imagine how great our Nation would be? This should begin with the man at the top, President Barack Hussein Obama. God Bless America.
Monster Buck Down
I was fortunate to be in the office when Matt Staggert stopped by to pick up his prizes for winning Webb Weekly's Monster Buck Contest. Matt is a fine young gentleman and hunter. He had the antlers with him and was proud to show them to Ron Mingle and all of us at Webb. A tip of the cap to Ron for again overseeing the contest and making sure everything is done in the right and ethical hunt way.
Matt's trophy Whitetail is the perfect example of when hard work and dedication create opportunity. I sat down with the young man who claimed to be 30 but looked about my son Hunter's age. Here is the lowdown on the buck down.
Matt would walk an hour to his hunting stand. He first spotted the bruiser early in archery season and made that two-hour hike almost every day with no success until bow season came to a close. His stick-to-itiveness paid off the first day of rifle season. The big fella showed himself and Matt was able to drop him with a single shot from his Tieka 300 Winchester mag. A Christmas present from his wife and father-in-law.
I asked him about the moment when his work met a chance of a lifetime. "I was fine, I tried to not look at the rack and just breathe and concentrate on the shot. I made a good shot. It set in as I was standing over him, I couldn't believe it."
The next thing ahead of Matt, who is a paid firefighter in Lewisburg, was a three-hour drag of the Big Hoss out of the woods. Matt hunts alone and has no cell service at his spot. That hour walk back to his truck was a little bit different when dragging a tank of a buck. "I was tired and excited and the farther I drug the buck the bigger he seemed to get."
How big was he? 12 points, gross score Boone Crockett 189 7/8. Final score 166 7/8, three deductions for stickers. Estimated dressed out weight, 185 or so. Matt's trophy is officially the 53rd biggest typical buck ever harvested in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania has truly become Monster Buck Country! Congratulations Matt.