Jackie Robinson West (JRW) proved once again they are Chicago's team. They are Chicago Strong. They beat Pearland, Texas 6-1. In the last inning, the kids from Morgan park shut out the Texans 3 up 3 down. They now advance to the semi-finals in the Little League World Series.
There was a large crowd in Jackie Robinson Park to watch the neighborhood and city heroes win this game. There was a lot of love on display for these young men. The hold and squeeze tight kind of love.
This is what neighbors do in Chicago. They support the neighborhood and local heroes.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on hand to watch the game, mingle with the crowd, and help cheer on Chicago's championship team.
I asked the mayor if there would be some kind of celebration when they came home. He replied he would give them my lens.
The mayor mingled with the crowd and cheered with them. He stayed for the whole game.
JRW is Chicago's team this year. They prove what young people can do if they work hard, focus, and persevere.
But, this is also a story about parents. Parents who support their children's athletic endeavors. Parents who sacrifice time and money when both are in short supply.
Parents who make the sacrifices so their children can succeed.
Morgan Park is a middle class neighborhood. A neighborhood of well maintained homes and lawns. A neighborhood of working people. It is also a neighborhood of people who are proud of this team.
The pride showed in their faces and their actions each time the team garnered a hit or pitched a scoreless inning.
The tale of Jackie Robinson West is a Chicago Story. It is a story of hard work, perseverance, and focus. It is the story of success in Chicago.
It is also a Chicago Story because of the neighborhood support for this team.
Chicago should be proud of this team of young people. They embody the hope for the future.
In a time when the news media harps on violence, a group of young men with bats and balls shows the world what can be accomplished with dedication. The dedication of the kids, their parents, and the coaches.
Chicago should be proud of the Jackie Robinson West team. They bucked significant odds to get to the Little League World Series. There are 7000 teams in the various leagues.
We all have an investment in this team. We should support them.
On Thursday night they will play again. If you can make out to Jackie Robinson Park, go. If not, watch the game on television. If you have a few bucks to spare, donate to this team.
Jackie Robinson West is making Chicago a very proud city. The least we can do is to support them on their quest for glory.
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