This article appeared in the August 18, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 08/18 edition

When a baseball player puts compassion above competition

In this collage from ESPN video, an errant pitch by Kaiden Shelton (29), of Pearland, Texas, hits batter Isaiah Jarvis, of Tulsa, Okla., in his helmet during a Little League Southwest Regional Playoff, Aug. 9, 2022, in Waco, Texas. Then, Isaiah hugs Kaiden.

Society often looks to professional athletes as role models. When they stumble in their personal lives or in their on-field behavior, they’re rightly criticized as setting a bad example. 

But perhaps we’re looking for our role models in the wrong places. 

Last week, an errant pitch hit Tulsa, Oklahoma, little leaguer Isaiah Jarvis in the head. For several minutes, he lay on the ground attended by adults. In the pros, such a pitch might have prompted a dugout-clearing brawl, or some form of revenge from the opposing team later in the game.

Instead of retribution, the batter delivered a hug. 

Twelve-year-old Isaiah trotted to first base, well enough to keep playing. Then, he noticed the pitcher was still visibly upset. Isaiah called time out, walked over to the mound, and wrapped his arms around his distraught competitor, Kaiden Shelton. And he gave Kaiden a quiet pep talk. “If I was in that position and just hit a kid in the head and almost gave him a concussion, I would be (crying), too. So I was just going over to make sure that he knows I’m OK and he doesn’t need to be crying because I’m just fine,” Isaiah told the Tulsa World Journal

More tears flowed in the ballpark as parents and coaches were touched by this display of compassion and sportsmanship. Video of the moment went viral

The Tulsa Nationals lost that playoff game. Their competitors, from Pearland, Texas, are now representing the U.S. Southwest at the Little League World Series that began Wednesday in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Still, the Tulsa team won in the game of life. 

“You think about our world and how divisive things tend to become. Here are teams that they all desperately want to go to Williamsport,” Tulsa coach Sean Kouplen said. “But they put their friendship and caring for each other above that every time. It is just so refreshing and so inspiring.”

This article appeared in the August 18, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 08/18 edition
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.