OPINION

LLWS best part of August

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I love August.

But I don’t like the heat, oppressive humidity and late-evening thunder boomers that shake your house.

What I do like is sitting on my sofa in the comfort of air conditioning and watching the Little League World Series while sipping on a beverage.

This year’s version is a little different, though.

Other nations couldn’t send their respective LL representative to Williamsport due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Eager and anxious to continue the tradition, LLWS officials opted to bring the champion and runner-up from each United States region to Pennsylvania.

For the next two weeks, 16 teams will battle in the Hank Aaron and Tom Seaver divisions to determine the world champion.

These boys and lone girl (from Texas) can play some ball.

They’re not afraid to take their hacks at the plate, throw an inside pitch or challenge the opposing team’s catcher for a stolen base.

These kids are living a dream that I didn’t get to experience when I played Little League back in the day. Some will continue their baseball careers in college and a select few will make it to the professional ranks.

What I like most are the coaches.

ESPN has them miked up for each game and you can hear their comments when they talk to a batter or visit the pitcher’s mound. They’re always positive, do a fist bump and constantly remind their players to have fun.

These coaches are not paid.

They selflessly give up their time to promote the world’s greatest sport that teaches a youngster plenty of life lessons. Baseball can humble a person, but also reward you at the same time.

The camaraderie these kids, coaches, parents and communities experience will create an everlasting bond and memories for a lifetime.

I still check in on a couple of my old teammates to this day.

We talk about certain plays we made, home runs or teams that were tough to beat in our league. I remember at least one or two playing baseball in college, but no one from my small hometown of Pinetops made “The Show.”

We had fun, though.

And since we were a close-knit community where all of us attended the same elementary school, we cherished those bragging rights until the next Little League season rolled around.

Rudy Coggins is assistant editor of the Mount Olive Tribune. He can be reached at rcoggins@mountolivetribune.com.

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