I do.

I love baseball season. I love major league baseball, especially when you can cheer on good guys, not the Alex Rodrigues types (that the New York Yankees might want to consider dumping) but the Derek Jeters and the guys who are always cheering on their fellow players and providing leadership to the teams.

But the best kind of baseball I have found in my life is the hometown kind, the Babe Ruth and American Legion Leagues. One thing I have really appreciated about President Bush was his promotion of baseball for kids.

This past weekend I had the privilege of going to the Northwest Arkansas Babe Ruth State Championship tournament in Bentonville, Arkansas. My nephew, Kevin played for our own Fort Smith Boys Club’s All Star team. He has made the All Stars for the past several years.

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Kevin at Bat

The tournament started last Friday and continued until this past Tuesday. Fort Smith made it to Sunday but then were beat out. Mountain Home won the tournament. But the loss wasn’t what mattered to me, it was the good sportsmanship the kids displayed and the fun they had throughout the weekend. It was fun hanging out with my sister and the parents of the kids. The parents were good sports and enjoyed watching the kids play.

Yes, there were some bad calls by the ump in the last game. He called a ball that had bounced in the dirt a strike but that’s life. Sometimes the umpires will make bad calls. That is something kids need to learn to deal with early on. We don’t always get our way and sometimes we may be cheated but that shouldn’t make us stop doing what we love to do.

The coaches of the Fort Smith team were great examples for the team also. Now there was one team (there’s always at least one) that displayed poor sportsmanship but it was mainly the parents. It didn’t help them to win though.

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Kevin caught it.

It takes good adult role models to teach kids how to handle both victory and defeat. Baseball is a great sport in which to teach kids how to live.