Moral Lessons for All: David vs Goliath in Needville

Your apology is accepted if you are one of our few neighbors who was unaware 12 young boys from tiny Needville were one of only TWENTY teams worldwide to earn a spot to the 2023 Little League World Series. We finished as the FOURTH best team on earth!

Every game for Needville was David vs Goliath in the 21st Century. Our first game was against Pennsylvania’s home team with a loud, hostile crowd. We gutted out a 2-1 victory. David slew Goliath. Next up was the largest city in North Dakota: Fargo. Needville won 6-2. Again, David slew Goliath. Two days later, we beat a team from Seattle 3-1 in extra innings. David slew Goliath. Our fourth game was against a team from greater Los Angeles. Needville draws from a population of 3,089. Our opponent plays in pool of 12,227,000 people in the LA metro area. That’s one Needville versus the equivalent of THREE-THOUSAND, NINE-HUNDRED, FIFTY-EIGHT Needvilles. One versus 3,058. We won 1-0. For the fourth time, David slew Goliath. Little Needville was the ONLY UNDEFEATED TEAM left in the American bracket. As fate would have it, we played the Los Angeles team for the Unites States championship. Their two 6’ tall, 14-year-old Goliaths were too much for us. El Segundo won 3-1.

Winning team members: Needville Little Leage.

When our Needville boys lost their dream to become the 2023 U.S. Little League Champions, their faces could not hide their disappointment. I could tell these young men felt they let down their teammates, coaches, parents and their hometown of Needville. Their emotions and faces were deja vu for me. In 1981, I was the point guard on the #1 basketball team in Texas, Clear Lake High. We romped into the regional playoffs with the best record in Texas 5A (now 6A) – 38 wins, 1 loss. We were on a 29-game win streak.

On Friday, March 13, 1981, we lost to the eventual Texas champion. We felt like total failures who let our whole world down. I remember crying that weekend on the hammock in my back yard for hours, knowing I was going to have to face fellow students and apologize to my Coach, Bill Krueger, for my failures that kept him from his first state title at Clear Lake. Coach Krueger knew exactly what me and my seven graduating senior teammates were feeling. He called us all into his office on Monday. He looked us right in our eyes and told us our pain was minor to the gifts we gave him, our parents, our fans and our community. Life is tough, full of frustration, disappointment and pain. Every one of our games allowed our fans to leave their world behind, and enjoy life in a united community. We gave our fans a day to look forward to, an extra heartbeat of excitement, an additional rapid breath of anticipation, a reason to jump up and shout for joy because of a slam dunk or blocked shot. My coach said we gave joy.

Pure joy in Williamsport – thank you, boys!

Needville’s Easton Benge helping a defeated Seattle opponent.

Our Needville Little League boys gave that gift to me and all of us who followed them in Pennsylvania. “Extremely proud” is too weak to express my feelings. “Extremely grateful with stronger faith” is more like it. I watched every game in the same clothes, because I didn’t want to mess with our win streak. I became a Facebook maniac because everyone in the world needed to know how special these boys are. I jumped out of my chair, screaming, when we scored the go-ahead run against Seattle in extra innings. Those joys pale in comparison to the inspiration I was given from the moral values, sportsmanship and faith our boys constantly displayed. Our boys routinely congratulated their opponents on a good play or consoled an opponent after a loss. Anyone who thinks future Americans are lazy, faithless, selfish and uncaring needs to spend time with Jakolby, Cade, Easton O., Easton B., Jayson, Jagger, Heath, Corbin, D.J., Colten, Mike or Dalyn. You won’t believe how a 14-year-old boy can make your life better.

Needville’s Jagger McCrae congratulates his El Segundo opponent after a home run. This is the first time we were behind in PA. We lost this game.

Another David slewing Goliath next year in Needville? Only God knows.

Our Needville Little League Champions are Fort Bend Strong!