!http://active.typepad.com/photos/little_league_west_region/lgll_world_series.jpg|style=padding:10px;|align=left|src=http://active.typepad.com/photos/little_league_west_region/lgll_world_series.jpg!The Little League World Series! Whether you are a casual fan or one that follows the game intently, it is hard not to feel the excitement every August when teams from around the world converge on Williamsport for several days of championship baseball.
I was traveling in Portland this past week and could not help but notice the excitement surrounding the team from Lake Oswego and their first trip to Williamsport. The Oregonian, one of Oregon's daily newspapers, noted in its coverage that Lake Oswego is only the third Oregon city in history to travel to Williamsport. Even as a current college coach, it was fun to share in the excitement of the days ahead for the team and its community.
The city where I grew up and played Little League baseball, Los Gatos, California, had a similar experience in 1984. The team defied several obstacles before reaching the Little League World Series. Although I was only 8 years-old at the time, I remember the experience vividly and was excited to cheer on the "big boys" that played on the 12 year-old major all-star team.
In the Aug. 15, 1984, issue of the Los Gatos Weekly-Times, sports editor Randy Frey wrote: "Mike Fisher picked a perfect time for hitting his first home run of the tournament. With one swing of his bat he sent the Los Gatos Little League All-Stars on their way to San Bernardino."
Los Gatos lost its first game, 2-1, to future Major Leaguer Jason Varitek and his team from Altamonte, Florida. After a 10-1 win against Brussels, Los Gatos lost 5-2 to Panama City to end its run and finish fifth in the world.
There was something special about the excitement and the buzz when "our team" made it to Williamsport. Before the electronic age of the internet, games were picked up and broadcast by a local radio and television station.
While the young men did not win the championship, it was fun to root on the older kids. Ultimately, these would be baseball players that would be role models of success for me while I continued to learn the game. Several players from the team would become stars at Los Gatos High, in college, and beyond. While Los Gatos has not made it back to the series since, it is fun to reflect and think that the memorable run by the 1984 team gave all of us younger players something to strive for in the years to come.