August 4, 2009

Awe Soo Teen!!! 오스틴!!!

Before getting to the stadium, I was fantasizing how my next blog entry would be that of nail biting suspense and the sweet smell of victory. That was before I saw our opponent, Yong San warming up. OMG! Even though the oldest age is supposed to be 13, I think the average size of the starting line up was 160 lbs!

I was worried to say the least...

The game was under way in a blink of an eye.

The first two innings were tough, but Dongbu held them 0 to 0. Then in the 3rd Yong San blew it open with a series of home runs and scored 7 runs. That demoralized the team. However, that was the only inning Yong San scored. Our ace pitcher, appropriately named “Devil” stepped up and put a lid on things. We still had a chance...

But their pitching was just too strong. Austin walked once, but was visibly out gunned and struck out his second time at bat.

The harsh thing for Austin was that his at-bat was broadcast live on ESPN. Nothing like a little pressure...

When he got up to bat, the whole stadium started chanting Awe Soo Teen! Awe Soo Teen! Awe Soo Teen!!!! (오스틴!!! 오스틴!!!) OK...half the stadium...still...that is a ton of pressure for a 12 year old... “But what does not kill you will make you stronger.” Austin is definitely not dead after this and I am quite proud of him to say the least.

Dongbu only got one hit the entire game, so you can imagine the pitching they were up against.

Heart Stealer
As you may have guessed...Who turned out to be the star of the game???!!!

Yes, Adam!!!!!

In my last entry, I told you how the team learned to never give up on themselves. What does that really mean?

Well, life is not a game with someone keeping score. I firmly believe that the success of life cannot be measured by a scoreboard, grade point average, bank account or the number of friends you have on Facebook. It is immeasurable.

The Coach understands this...and you can see it in his character. It meant more to the Coach to give his “little kids” a chance in the sun than to try one last time to win the game. And it can be done...last year Yong San won the tournament in the last inning when they were down 11 to 1.

So, in the last inning, when Dongbu still had a chance, instead of putting in the top line up, the Coach put in the “little kids.”

Yes, this means Adam!!!

Adam bounced out of the dug out to face Goliath at the start of the inning...

And Goliath had no mercy on Adam...

I think I heard Adam’s knees knock together as the first pitch came screaming across the plate at 80+ mph! No kidding, these kids pitch fast. This pitcher will be playing professional ball for Korea in a few years.

...But Adam kept it together!!!

First pitch... “Strike!”

Second pitch: “Ball!!!”

Third Pitch: What’s this? Adam is going to bunt? He is waiving the bat at the pitcher to taunt him...this is unscripted by the Coach, who, is now yelling at Adam...

“Ball!!!” The catcher’s mitt cracks...that was close...

Fourth pitch: “Ball!” Adam is still alive...

Fifth pitch: Steeerike!!!!

Now comes the the full count pitch....the crowd is on its feet screaming...

“BALL!!!” Adam gets walked!!!

Adam bounces like a gazelle to first base... He was just walked by the best pitcher in the league...who is now a bit pissed off that he walked Adam on ESPN...

...I watch as Adam floats above first base with unimaginable pride...broadcast all over he is locked ’n’ loaded and ready to steal second...

...a shining moment for him...the Coach...the team...and all those who attended that day.

We witnessed and were part of something rare and special...a turning point in a little boy’s life.

...but this is not a Disney movie. It is life. Yes, things happen for a reason, but not to sell theater tickets. The next three kids are little like Adam and strike out, but they, too, got their chance in the lime light.

So, Dongbu has to settle for 2nd place in the Asiana Airlines Little League Baseball Tournament. Not bad, considering almost fifty teams began the tournament.

But, let’s not forget Austin. Strong, yet humble and someone whom Adam admires faithfully. He has been a leader for his brother throughout the season. He is visibly disappointed by the loss.

After the game, the ceremony begins. The baseball commissioner and the CEO of Asiana Airlines are there to bestow the trophies, medals and team prizes. This almost starts to get tiring, until, we hear over the loud speaker...“Awe Soo Teen...”

...Austin is being awarded the “Strength of Character Honor”...loosely translated. He deserves it. Not because he is one of two Americans amongst 50+ Korean teams, but because he has shown true strength of character in a difficult and challenging situation.

He is beaming and some of the day’s sting subsides for him.

At the end of the day, the bonds of friends and team mates are strengthened...

Austin and Adam Pose with their greatest fans! “Ah, Mr. Adam, can I have your autograph?”

Honorable mention: Lyra, who has provided a sanctuary and moral support for all of us throughout the summer, gave the boys matching Nike sports watches to go with their uniforms...How cool is that?

Austin’s “Strength of Character Trophy.” Nice...huh...

Oh, Austin is a big kid for his age... Well, check out #20 who is the Goliath that walked Adam...he’s a big boy!

Stay tuned for the next saga..


Anonymous Cam Scott said...

Appreciate you blogging tthis

June 19, 2023  

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