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If you can teach a child history, they might just understand baseball.


To help a group of 10-year-olds understand the roots of African
American baseball, Little League baseball coach Steve Bandura spent
every Friday for 24 weeks in 2011-12 showing them documentary
baseball films produced by Ken Burns and other civil rights films. Burns,
an award-winning documentary filmmaker, chronicled the history of
baseball, the players that helped change the game, and their tragedies
and triumphs.


The Taney Youth Baseball Organization was formed in 1994 by three
parents, a coach and a permit to play on a Philadelphia field. The group
opened its doors allowing girls to play. Lesser skilled players were also
allowed to play with the more skilled. Philadelphia youth baseball leagues
aren’t as privileged as suburban leagues who own their own facilities.
Taney started with what they had and never looked for an excuse to say
what they lacked.


Much of the attention during Taney’s appearance in the Little League has
been on its’ star pitcher, Mone Davis. Davis is the first American girl to play
in the Little League World Series since 2004 and the 18th girl in the 68-year
history of the tournament.


Davis astounded everyone with her 70 m.p.h fastball -mile-an hour, pitching
a shut out game. The media wondered if she could handle all the attention
from fans. She did, signing autographs and telling everyone she was just
one of the guys.


History is an account of past events. An understanding of the events will help
us plan for the future. It wasn’t just physical skills and mental toughness that
helped the Taney Dragons eliminate other teams in the league. Support from
family and friends helped guide them. When the team’s ride to the Little
League World Series ends, each of them will need support from caring adults
to be successful; to be given yet more opportunity off the field.


Ability without opportunity is a great waste.


Open your eyes to become a mentor.



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