During a time when Chicago's Black youth are portrayed as either murdering thugs or victims, a group of young men prove there is hope.
In a year when Chicago sports championships dried up there is light.
The Jackie Robinson West baseball team is going to the Little League world Series.
While politicians were preening at the Bud Billikin Day parade and the city was going about its weekend routines, a group of young kids from Chicago's south side did something amazing in Indianapolis, Indiana.
They won the Great Lakes Region Final. They propelled themselves to the World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
The last time a Chicago team went to the Little League World Series was 1983.
The Little League World Series is international, bringing together teams from all over the world. It is even televised on some sports networks. The games have been played all over the world.
This should have been a big deal. It should have been front page news on Sunday. But, politicians preening at a parade, shootings, and someone named George Clooney, a nobody nobody sent, dominated the front pages.
Chicago sports writers should have been tripping over themselves with columns. Instead they were concerned about minor league teams like the Sox and Cubs and some NASCAR driver involved n the death of another driver.
Television should have been interviewing the coach and team for broadcast.
11 and 12 year-old boys put Chicago back into sports history. They are now Chicago's team. Chicago Strong. Chicago has something to root for besides preening politicians and two limping baseball teams.
Except for a general sports column in each paper, this accomplishment was ignored. If it bleeds it leads. Better to headline murder, mayhem, and preening politicians at a parade. Politics is a blood sport in Chicago.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a statement that sums up the pride we should all feel:
“The City of Chicago could not be more proud of the Jackie Robinson West Little League Team. They are now on the road to the Little League World Series -- something that no Chicago team has played in since 1983. However, more important than making history on Saturday, the courage to persevere and hard work displayed by the Jackie Robinson West Little League Team and Coach Darold Butler, has once again reminded all of Chicago the very best of what we hope from and for our kids. I want the whole team and Coach Butler to know that Chicago is rooting for them, and as they take the field for the Little League World Series, they will be taking the best wishes of an entire city with them.” - Mayor Emanuel
There should be some celebration downtown for these young people. Maybe a rally in Daley Center before they go off to Williamsport.
There should be a proclamation from the City giving them an official day. The Cubs and Sox should fete these youngsters with their own day at the ballparks. Maybe they should draft a few of them.
The commercial and financial movers and shakers in Chicago should throw major dollars their way. It is a better bet than contributing to politicians. These kids can actually accomplish something.
The league's website does not have an active donation page, which is a pity, as many people could send small sums to help the team.
Chicago's young people now have role models setting an example that hard work and dedication leads to accomplishment.
Chicago does celebrations bigger and better than anyplace in America. Chicago should give these young people a major celebration.
We are the "City of Big Shoulders", Second City to none. After Chicago, everyone else comes first.
Let's give these champions the public recognition they deserve and a send off to the Little League World Series they will never forget.
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