Pickens' Perspective: 'Experience of a Lifetime' is one to remember for champion Fairfield American
It's been a week since the Fairfield American Little League departed for Williamsport, Pa. The squad has seen it all, heard it all, and experienced it all in the trip of a lifetime.
Those 11 boys experienced things that every red-blooded American boy dreams of. They were rock stars for a week. They got to play ping pong and arcade games and baseball on national television.
Through it all, the team displayed the dignity and class of a champion.
And they were champions. The squad can look back and remember all of the fun that it had going to regionals, winning a 1-0 game on national TV to get to Williamsport, having pizzas delivered by Chris Drury, getting phone calls from Don Mattingly and Terry Francona. Nate Klein will always have "Nate's babes" and they'll have stories to tell their kids and grandkids forever, and nothing can take that away.
"It's the experience of a lifetime," manager Chris Daley said.
So will all of us who were in Williamsport. As you may or may not have read in our "Fairfield American blog" the town in North Central Pennsylvania perks up its collective ears up and parties once a year for the Little League World Series. There was a parade with floats and narration from the local radio station.
"I didn't expect that many people to come out just for us," Jack Quinn said. "It was a little overwhelming."
They'll remember dancing with Dugout the Mascot, or watching the umpires dance with Dugout. They can look back and remember all of the joy and happiness that they gave to Fairfield County and the Town of Fairfield as a whole.
"They were one of the last six teams in the US playing baseball, and one of the last 12 in the world," Daley said. "I'm very proud of them, it was a great summer and a magical season."
But what will come most from this trip is the friendships and relationships that the kids developed from all over the world. They'll have friends in Columbus, Ga., Hamilton, Ohio or Plymouth, Minn.
They may even have friendships with kids from Japan or China or people that live in Saudi Arabia or Germany.
They'll be celebrated and honored. They may get a trip to Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium out of it. People like me will remember the names forever, and so will the fans of the area. They'll go back to school next week and they'll be the took of their respective middle school. Their 15 minutes are most certainly not done.
They'll go on to have high school careers in baseball or in other sports and then do what kids from Fairfield do beyond that.
But for one summer, they were the best youth baseball team that New England had.
And even though they're home, no one can take that away from them.