I caught the tail end of the Little League World Series (Japan vs. the U.S.) today….
I stopped mid-channel-surfing because I thought–wait–what are these little kids doing playing such an intense game of baseball?
And why is it on TV?
I was reminded of, many years ago, living in Spain as a child and my older brother serving as the pitcher on our local, American little league team. These were low-key family events. Lazy. Long. Hot…. My friends and I often wandered off to play in the dirt with sticks and our dogs. Most of the time, it didn’t seem to matter who won or lost.
But this game on TV was high stakes, with wound-up parents in the stands, looking as if they might pass out from the stress. I wondered at the pressure some of these kids must be under, how long and hard they’d worked to get there.
The American team won at the bottom of the sixth inning by one point, breaking a tie, and like any triumphant team in sports, the young players were euphoric. The kids exploded into leaps and fist pumps, and then finally into a happy pile over the home plate.
The camera flashed to the losing team.
That’s the sucky thing about a game: someone’s always gotta lose.
My heartstrings were pulled when I saw one little Japanese player openly crying and as the camera cut back and forth between the two teams, more young boys on the losing team began to cry too.
If they were grown-ups, they’d be better at hiding this, I thought. They don’t know how to mask their feelings yet….
When divorced moms and stepmoms don’t get along, the same thing happens: we’re hurt, but we try not to show it.
We don’t want to give the other side the satisfaction of seeing how upset we are. How furious or fearful, how devastated and obsessed.
We don’t want them to know they’ve gotten under our skin.
In trying to save face, we harden ourselves, so that the behavior from the other side won’t sting.
But it still does.
And though you might argue otherwise, it stings for them too, even though it might seem like it.
Seeing this is often one of the first steps to real change.
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