OPINION

Thank you, Central Iowa All-Stars

Ronna Lawless

To the Central Iowa All-Stars team — the players, the coaches, the parents and other family members:

I am so proud of you. I think it’s safe to say that we, as a community, all are. Thank you for showing us some great softball, and thank you for representing Iowans to the rest of the world. Victory doesn’t just come with the win, it comes with facing adversity, stepping up the plate against your adversary, keeping your composure and staying true to your values.

It was thrilling to watch our hometown girls play in such an elite venue. But it’s more than just how you played. It’s how you carried yourselves with such pride, worked hard, pulled together as a united team, respected your coaches, were unswayed by defeat and adeptly handled the attention brought about by the controversy. You showed sportsmanship to the other players and appreciation to your supporters, who spent many nail-biting hours on the bleachers or in their chairs or pacing along the baseline on the other side of the fence. The mothers who couldn’t look away, the fathers who couldn’t sit down – it’s been a few years since I was a baseball mom, but I remember what it was like.

It was impressive to see coach Charlie Husak show the importance of knowing the rules – basically knowing your rights – and when those are violated, seek redress. To Husak and the rest of the coaches and adult leadership on the team, thank you for guiding the girls through the emotions, media attention and extra innings to show such excellence on the field and off.

To the coaches, parents and players of the South Snohomish team:

Losing on purpose is insulting.

It’s insulting to the players on your team. It says, “We need trickery to win because I don’t know if you’re good enough to do it on your own.”

It’s insulting to the team you’re intentionally losing to. It tells them you don’t think they could win unless you let them.

As a former baseball mom, that farce of a game galls me for another reason. The Snohomish parents should have been rioting on the sidelines at the obvious prospect of having their children intentionally throw a game. I have spent countless hours on the bleachers watching my son play baseball, from the t-ball years to the college years. At all of those levels, if any of our coaches had implemented a strategy that caused our boys to start losing a game on purpose, we parents would have gone ballistic. If the game was televised, that would have been obvious to anyone at home in their living rooms. I’m sure I would have pulled my son from the game rather than allow him to be a part of such a scheme.

I suspect you parents will suffer from the fact that you didn’t object and will have ‘what if’s’ in your head for a long time.

Our Central Iowa team doesn’t have to wonder about what if’s. They rocked the Little League World Series. They came home Third In The World, and are first in our esteem.

Ronna Lawless is a staff writer for the Nevada Journal and Tri-County Times. She can be reached by email atrlawless@nevadaiowajournal.com.