By Jack Bahrenburg,
As we gear up for the 2013 Little League season, I came across an article from our parent organization, Little League International about the “Little League Pledge.”
The Little League Pledge
I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best
This pledge has resonated with me since Shelburne Little League hosted the district tournament last summer, chosen because of the condition of our fields (the best in Vermont!) and the willingness of dedicated parent volunteers.
What sticks out to me is how such a simple phrase always brings a smile to our players’ faces as they stand on the baseline anticipating the start of a playoff game. What a great tradition! Little League is an outstanding organization with a rich history reaching all the way up to the President of the United States!
Visit www.shelburnelittleleague.com to learn about the upcoming baseball and softball season and register your son or daughter.
The Pledge: (www.littleleague.org/learn/about/pledge.htm)
The Little League Pledge was written by Peter J. McGovern, the late president of Little League Baseball, in 1954. It made its first appearance in the February 1955 “Little Leaguer” magazine. Its text has remained unchanged in the half-century since then.
The Little League Pledge was drafted after Mr. McGovern became aware that local Little League programs were reciting the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance before games. Mr. McGovern wanted to give all leagues (not just those in the United States) a pledge reflecting some of the sentiments of the Pledge of Allegiance, minus the references to the U.S., while adding the elements of sportsmanship and the desire to excel.
The text of the Little League Pledge was sent to U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower on Feb. 22, 1955. President Eisenhower (and every president since then) was a strong supporter of Little League.
In a response by letter to Mr. McGovern a few days later, President Eisenhower said: “Thank you for…sending me the inspiring and fine pledge that, I understand, will now be repeated at the start of the Little League baseball games. I am always glad to hear the plans and activities of Little League.”
A recitation of the Little League Pledge was led by President George W. Bush before tee ball on the South Lawn games at the White House. President Bush first recited the Little League Pledge in 1955 as a Little Leaguer in Midland, Texas.