SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Thank you, Jackie Robinson West for giving Chicago a summer to remember.
We didn’t know it, but we desperately needed to put our minds on something other than the daily bombardment of death and mayhem.
And for 14 days, you gave us the opportunity to celebrate the innocence of youth.
I was filled with pride each time you ran out onto Lamade Stadium’s emerald field in your crisp gold and blue baseball jerseys and white pants.
You are 11- and 12-year-old boys, but you carried yourselves throughout the tournament like mature young men, and from the top decks of the stadium, you looked like a team of professional baseball players.
Seeing the camaraderie you shared with teammates, as well as with competitors, took me back to the time when it was unheard of for a young black boy to pick up a gun and kill another black child.
There was so much pride in the way you stood on the mound; the way you tapped your neon green bats into the dirt before taking a swing at home plate, and the way you reached for the sky and stopped high-flying balls in mid-flight.
Thank you Jackie Robinson West for putting the lessons you learned from your fathers and mothers on a national stage.
Hopefully, you have helped the world see the black family through a clearer lens.