“Why Are We Here?’

Sunday June 13 was Championship Sunday for the PBI Baseball League 2010 spring campaign. By all measures, this was a tremendous season with well over 200 teams from around the area competing each Sunday since the end of March; it was easily our biggest spring turnout ever.

I coached the 9U PBI Eagles team this spring. All through our pre-season training and during our weekly in-season practices I would frequently ask them, “Why are we here?” And the players would answer, “CHAMPIONSHIP!” On Championship Sunday, after compiling a perfect 9-0 record in the regular season and semi-finals, the players finished things off with a gritty 3-0 win over a VERY tough 9U Ridgewood team. The smiles on the faces in the picture above tell most of the story of how hard work and determination leads to success.

But there’s another side to the whole “CHAMPIONSHIP” story that I would like to relate to you.

Despite some inclement weather on Championship Sunday, most of the scheduled championship games were played; some scores were actually still coming in on Monday afternoon. Sunday afternoon, I received a phone call from the PBI representative who was covering the 11U AA game between North Haledon and Ridgewood. Rain was coming down and there was a request for clarification on what constitutes an official game. Under the circumstances as detailed to me, the game was indeed official, and my understanding was that the umpires were going to call the game shortly on account of rain.

What follows is a note I received from one of the Ridgewood parents who knows I work here at PBI, but was unaware that I run the PBI League.

“I wanted to pass along a story of baseball sportsmanship that I experienced yesterday…

Our Ridgewood 11U team was in the PBI 11U 46-60 championship game yesterday. We were down 4-2 during the bottom of the 4th when the rain hit hard and they delayed the game.

While we were waiting out the rain delay, the coaches called the league commissioner, who said they game was “official” and they could stop it and declare the other team (North Haledon) the winner. The North Haledon coaches flatly refused, saying they didn’t want to win a championship that way — they wanted to win it by playing a full game. Then the rains let up and play resumed. We rallied in the 6th to win 10-5.

But hats off and due respect for the North Haledon coaches — they showed true sportsmanship and set a great example for their kids.”

In a day and age when so often we hear stories of attempts to win at all costs, I can’t begin to tell you what a tremendous reminder the North Haledon coaches and players gave us about why we compete, what good sportsmanship is all about, and truly why we are here.

Bravo, North Haledon!

Jim Monaghan
Professional Baseball Instruction

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