Sportsmanship is still alive in this cutthroat world. At a time when zealous parents can make even children’s games extremely competitive, two Little League players showed that humanity should still reign in sports.
Showcasing their excellent character, Little League players from opposing teams showed that compassion and kindness should still be the norm, even in tough competitions.
In a now viral video, at the Little League World Series, two players displayed a heartwarming exchange after a painful initial encounter.
In the game, Pearland, Texas Little League pitcher Kaiden Shelton threw a pitch that hit Oklahoma National Little League batter Isaiah (Zay) Jarvis on the right side of his helmet.
The blow was so hard that it caused Jarvis to spin and fall to the ground while clutching his head. In a slow-motion review of the Little League game, the impact was most likely extremely painful since it basically knocked off Jarvis’ helmet.
It was certainly a scary moment for both players and their families. Even sports commentators stated that they were often hit or struck by baseballs in their time as athletes, but rarely in the head.
While Jarvis was well enough to play in spite of the incident, the young pitcher Shelton was visibly shaken after hitting the batter. He was obviously upset at the notion of injuring a fellow player.
Shelton looked so distraught that Jarvis left his position at first base to console the pitcher.
When he was hit, Jarvis was worried he might have had a concussion and would be medically ruled out for the rest of the game. But then moments later, he could see Shelton crying and struggling to continue to play on the mound.
After calling for a time out, Jarvis approached the pitcher to encourage him. He told Shelton, “Hey, you’re doing just great.”
Shelton recalled the moment and said, “I thought he was really hurt, but when he started walking up to me… it looked like he was better, but I thought he was going to throw a punch or something like that.
He hugged me and it made me feel a lot better about myself at that moment.” He added that Jarvis told him to “‘just throw strikes and take deep breaths.’”
At their age, the two boys embodied caring and compassion – the pitcher was so troubled that he had caused undue harm, and the victim, knowing that it was all an accident, showed his willingness to set aside competition to provide comfort and reassurance.
Jarvis said, “I wanted to go up there because we’re pretty good friends… so I went up there and I gave him a hug. We’re all brothers… baseball, it’s just a game.”
People were awed by the interaction and praised the empathy of the two Little League players. One view commented, “Both of those boys are what you want your kids to aspire to.”
Another added, “One willing to forgive and knows it wasn’t intentional and the other showing remorse and sorrow. I love it!!”
It was still a Little League game after all, and after regaining his composure, Shelton contributed to his team’s performance with two hits, two runs batted in and one run that he scored himself.
In the end Pearland Little League won the six-inning game, 9-4. This sent the Texas 12-and-under team as the Southwest’s representative to the Little League World Series.
This amazing moment shows that some things are bigger in sports. It started out as just another Little League Game, but people will likely recall this particular event as one of purest moments of camaraderie and sportsmanship now rarely seen in a game.