The 10-year-old Springdale Little League team earned a spot in this week's Cal Ripken World Series in Bentonville, playing the best competition in the entire country.
The games didn't go the way the boys had wanted, being eliminated in pool play, but this week taught them so much about baseball and about life.
“Playing in the World Series is a once in a lifetime thing,” said 10-year-old Marcus Brown. “It's in our back yard. It's just an amazing experience because you get to play teams from all around the US.”
The stands were packed. The entire community was behind them. These boys were on the biggest of stages.
“It's a lot harder challenge and pushes us to get a lot better,” said 10-year-old Hunter Wood.
“The teams are really good. They're just amazing,” said 11-year-old Austin Wages.
But Springdale was pretty good themselves this season. They won their District and they won the State Tournament to get here. Just because they didn't advance past pool play does not mean they came away empty handed.
“The fun part has been watching them learn and watching them grow, not only in the game of baseball but how they deal with things,” said Springdale coach Steve Brooks. “That's what the main thing is, how we deal and how we learn and continue to do that process day in and day out.”
Playing in the Little League World Series is something a 10-year-old will never forget. Dealing with disappointment and losing baseball games is part of that experience. But win or lose this week was a teaching moment. It molded the kids into better people.
“The main thing is can we keep the gleam in the eye and the smile on the faces of these young men because failure is very hard to deal with sometimes,” said Brooks. “Everyone wants to win, but it's about how many times you get up when you get knocked down, not how many times you get knocked down.”
After this experience, you can bet Springdale will never stop getting back up.