Hit around the world

Farewell Little Leaguers. It has been our joy to host you, your families and friends. We enjoyed the parades, the games and the opportunity to get to know more about you throughout our two-week international family reunion.

Celebrations were in order this anniversary year. The World of Little League is observing its 75th and Pennsylvania College of Technology is lifting up a year of activities as the community recognizes its 100th. I hope many of you got a chance to view the art exhibition on the third floor of the Madigan Library’s art gallery of Penn College and its presentation of Charles Fazzino’s “Collective Pop.” In addition to his unusual 3D creations, there was equal space given over to students from elementary through high school in our region to express their creativity by lifting up Little League’s 75th.

Fazzino took the time to conduct master classes in a number of schools of Lycoming and Sullivan counties, challenging kids to think Little League. They did a great job. We need to celebrate these artists in the making.

Salladasburg Elementary students, for example, put together a mosaic of 189 4- by 4-inch tiles. One tile in particular caught my eye: “Little League Hits Across the World.” It had a white baseball, complete with red thread stitching, superimposed on the earth, including an outline of several green continents.

I paused. Then it hit me. “God So Loved the World.” Any effort to lift our sights, any attempt to see beyond ourselves, any hope for bringing people together is a gesture honored by people of good will. In a world that needs so much understanding and care, Little League made sense to me one more time. Too often we use the phrase “my faith” and leave the conversation at a personal level. Perhaps we feel overwhelmed by the displacements of war or the devastation of storms. “What can I do, one person, to make a difference?”

It begins with each of us. Are we willing to even think beyond our personal journey? Start right there. What about the people right around you. Hey, we have families, neighborhoods, communities that could use some help. As we tackle local issues, we develop a healthy sense of “Who is my neighbor?” We find others of like mind and develop coalitions of love and care that ultimately could go national, and international. Then, like God’s challenge, we might even say, “I, along with many others, so love the world.”

Thanks, Little League, Penn College and the kids of Salladasburg for a personal reminder that we live in a shrinking global world which needs the cooperation and commitment of all peoples working together for the common good.

So, as we step into the busy fall season, may the memories of how we celebrated the games and appreciated the bigger message of Little League bring us closer together as good neighbors one to another!

– Waltz is a retired American Baptist pastor.