I love this time of year. Shark Week and the X Games are over, the promise of football season awaits and the Little League World Series takes priority on our TV. Every summer I get pulled into stories of boys who love America's past time and the LLWS really does make it feel like our game once again.
So I was pretty thrilled to get to see my hometown, Bend, Oregon making it to the regional finals this past weekend. They made a great run putting away Bothell, Washington in the semis and facing a team from Billings, Montana in the final. Watching those kids and their families made me think back to the games I played in and watched growing up in Bend.
A lot has changed in Bend. It has grown in population from 20,000 when I moved away in 1992, to almost 80,000 today. But the little league fields at Juniper and Stover Park remain crisp in my memory. I watched my brothers on those fields after I decided baseball was too boring. I cheered them on just like the families from Bend cheered on their boys in the Northwest regional.
Bend lost the regional final to Billings and for the first time ever, Montana punched a ticket to Williamsport. But those kids from Bend having nothing to hang their heads about. They made this Bendite and many others extremely proud.
Oh, and there's another team who won't be traveling to Williamsport for the Little League World Series. If you have seen this ESPN story on the team from Uganda, it's worth a watch.