CBS 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell hosts “Gameday” every Sunday night at 11:30pm on CBS 5 and offers his unique sports analysis here.
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — Hundreds of children didn’t get the chance to play baseball this year in San Francisco because there were simply not enough fields to accommodate demand.
Despite heroic efforts by both San Francisco Little League and San Francisco Youth Baseball League, the little league dream of so many kids was just that, a dream.
Then one day, two coaches from SFYBL, Victor Reed and Brian Ingram, decided to do something about it. They agreed to coach a team that would include 12 kids from the waiting list. While this didn’t answer the prayers of the majority of kids without a team, it did give a handful the chance to play ball. And so, the Spiders were born.
From the beginning, the challenge was a laborious study in fundamentals and patience for coaches Reed and Ingram. After all, this was the first time several of the kids had played baseball. Most couldn’t judge a fly ball, catch a ground ball, or hit a pitch.
The losses mounted, but not the frustration of the coaches. Sometime around the sixth week, the team’s uniforms finally arrived. And ironically, so did their ability.
Remember the fabled movie, “The Bad News Bears?” An outfielder named Lupus finally makes a catch in the outfield. It’s a startling revelation when he discovers the baseball sticking in his glove. A symbolic change occurred on the team and the Bears go on to the little league championship game. And like the movie, one of the Spiders players is girl, the team’s center fielder.
One of the great joys of watching little league kids and coaching them, is the moment that they learn how to catch a fly ball, field a ground ball, or whack a base hit. The look in their eyes is a priceless look into the wonderment of life. An astonishing discovery that, “yes, I can do this.”
This week, the Spiders will play in the SFYBL Championship game. Twelve kids who wouldn’t have had the chance if not for Victor Reed and Brian Ingram.
And this story is why I love my job.
See you on TV.
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)