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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



Yes, we have entered the final few weeks of Winter. Well feel the cold and yuck that comes when the soggy days of this time of year start to turn warmer and things begin to green up. That can only mean the beginning of my favorite season is close at hand. Soon the sounds of leather on leather and the time to scratch and spit are going to start to ring across the land.its baseball season.

As a perienial Cubs fan Im going to go out on a limb here and say this is the year! The year that will end the long struggle and shame all Cub fans have felt. Well climb out of our Winter slumber and root for our boys, spend hours yelling at the radio and television, take long naps in the outfield bleachers and sneak off to catch a game on some brilliant sunny day.

It is, after all the American pastime. To root for a team, to feel the ups and downs of the season, to pace frantically with a one-run lead in the top of the 9th with runners on the corners, two outs and our closer seeming a little shakey. Well be there as we hear the crack of the bat, watching as the ball screams outward beyond our heads into the deep blue backdrop of the sky and raise our fits as we celebrate as our slugger rounds the bases.

And in small fields and dirt lots across the country this scene will be played over and over again as youngsters take the field and learn teamwork and fair play. For it is the little leaguers, free from performance enhancing drugs, who gives the game its flair. They wont be paid any extra large salary, and may not be able to pull off a 6,4,3 double play, but in its simplest form, little league is to the game of baseball what the luxurious smell is to a new car.

The boy wants to play baseball, as all young boys his age do. We missed t-ball and really thought wed concentrate more on Saturday morning cartoons, but hes pretty excited about it and wants to give it a try. So this year hell step to the plate and swing away. Maybe hell never hit a ball? Maybe hell just run the bases for fun. And maybe hell figure out that it isnt his thing.

Part of the joy in Little League is that the parents are the coaches, and for a group of 15 rookies this year its a good thing theyve got a great guy as a coach! Because I can tell you right now, the assistant coach has no idea what he is doing. Its one thing to sit and watch hours of baseball over the years, but one thing entirely different to try to coach the finer principals of the game to a group of kids who might just be more excited in the occasional squinny squirrel that pops up from his hole near second base. I do know one thing though as a coach, I promise to make sure that each kid on the team has fun, win or loose, because in the end when all is said and done, these young men are playing a game. A fun game that can bring them many happy memories through the years and just maybe keep them out of trouble in the summer long enough to see them grow up.

So as I travel around with the team at ballparks across the area, remember to cheer them on for both good and not so good things on the field, and try to remember that its just a game, played by a group of youngsters who are learning, along with the coach, and having fun in the process.

See you next week. Remember, were all in this together.