The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

August 15, 2013

Teachable moment

The Register-Herald

— There may be no more pure sporting event to watch than the Little League World Series, which is scheduled to begin today.

Kids, ages 9 to 12, playing baseball, for the love of the game.

No more and no less.

They’re representing their respective communities and states on an international platform. That’s very exciting stuff.

It’s a refreshing alternative to the news recently at the professional baseball level.

On Aug. 5, Major League Baseball announced suspensions for more than a dozen players following a lengthy investigation into a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing PEDs.

They may not claim to be role models, but the athletes that put on the uniform of any MLB team are exactly that.

That’s why the teams sell jerseys with the players name and number on the back — in youth and adult sizes.

Recognizing that some pro athletes may not take responsibility or realize the impact of their influence on our younger generation, Little League Baseball is doing something about it — and being proactive.

The organization plans to introduce an educational program for coaches and volunteers intended to raise awareness about the use and dangers of performance-enhancing drugs among young players.

PEDs don’t just give a user an unfair advantage in competition.

They’re dangerous.

And recent surveys have shown that the general public is not aware of the risks in taking PEDs.

Little League President Stephen Keener was quoted as saying “We have some obligation to educate parents and Little League coaches.”

Young ballplayers may have questions about their MLB heroes who have been suspended for their PED use.

So it’s a good opportunity to teach them about the dangers of PED use — and about sportsmanship.

After all, the users were attempting to obtain an upper hand over an opponent using a shortcut to success.

This could well be an outstanding teachable moment, not only for the kids and their parents.

But for baseball fans at all levels.