Every year during spring and summer breaks, we have a baseball tournament of high school teams from all over our nation. It would not be an overstatement to say that it is a dream come true to be in this tournament if you are in any way involved in the game of baseball in my homeland. It is a tradition in our culture and is broadcast nationwide. Even the not-so-interested become instant baseball fans for the short while the games are on.
High school baseball in my homeland has had some tough times. There has been criticisms that the players are worked too hard and their physical conditions are not cared for well enough. There have been increasing numbers of reports of misconduct by both players and coaching staff. Circumstances surrounding it has not helped either, with cases of misappropriation of school funds and illegal gambling.
So it was quite a refreshing news to hear the tournament organizers announce they will provide some one-hundred-odd free seats behind the home plate, called “Dream Seats,” for little league players. I would never have dreamt of hearing such a news, because I do not know too many other traditions in my culture that open their doors this widely to invite the young minds in.
But I think this can be a wonderful undertaking to get our young minds to dream, maybe beyond their wildest dreams.
Maybe they will find out more about how much hard work is needed to become a star athlete, and ask themselves whether they have what it takes to make it.
Maybe they will find out more about the many other aspects of the game – coaching, umpiring, stats-recording, groundkeeping, ticket selling, to name just a few – and ask themselves whether any of these interest them.
Maybe they will find out more about the problems the game has had, including the ones mentioned above, and ask themselves whether they are willing and able to face them.
It may not be a typical educational venue my people would think to take their young minds to, but I believe learning and growth can occur just about anywhere. It can be just as meaningful to take field trips to sports events as it is to stay in school and read textbooks or take notes. I know from my own experience that, although my dream of becoming an athlete was shattered fairly early, going to baseball stadiums and football fields and hockey arenas in my youth has still made my life all the richer!
The news said that the organizers will maintain the “Dream Seats” if the undertaking is received well. I hope that they will make every effort to be received well, so that many many more young minds will have a chance to go find their dreams sitting in seats with the best view of people living out their dreams.