This week, Pike County Little League has been hosting the State Little League Tournament for boys 11 and under. This is the first time in the 62 year history of Pike County Little League that they have hosted a state tournament. Eight teams have participated in this event which kicked off Saturday.
Each team is assigned a "team host" to be a resource for the coaches, families and players while they are here. Hosting does not involve having the teams stay at the host's house as I first thought, but just being there for them. I have had the opportunity to serve as a host for the Elmhurst, Illinois team. Although it has "taken me out of my comfort zone" as Jack Hull would say- it has really been fun.
From the coach's meeting on Friday night, to the group dinner on Saturday, to attending as many of the games as my schedule has permitted- it has been a learning experience. It has also been an opportunity for Pike County and the Pike County Little League organization to shine. And shine they have. In every single encounter I have had with tournament participants, the reviews have been positive.
I've attended all Elmhurst's games and visited with the moms, dads and coaches. They have so appreciated the welcome they have been given here. One dad told me last night that he is on the Board for the Elmhurst team and has learned a lot about running a tournament (and running it well). He can't wait to get home and share what he has learned just watching the entire Pike County crew in action. One of the moms raved about Charlie Hull's announcing- his great voice, professionalism, and the attention to detail in getting the pronunciation of all the kids' names correct. The music rocked! Fans were dancing in the stands and the boys loved getting to pick a walk up song. It was "the little things", as one mom said, that made this so special.
So here we are on day 6 of the tournament and we are down to two teams. Elhurst is one of the remaining teams. Tonight they play Hinsdale, to whom they lost Tuesday night. Elmhurst had a good victory last night- so they are coming into this game pumped. If they win tonight, Hinsdale and Elmhurst will play again tomorrow. If Hinsdale is victorious, my new friends from Elmhurst will go home with their heads held high knowing they are #2 in the state.
More importantly they will go home with wonderful memories made here in Pike County thanks to many people who worked so hard to make this happen. I believe they will come back to see us again, and we will put the welcome mat out for them! Kaye