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Little League controversy in Utah...

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Monson: Weighing compassion, drive to win

By Gordon Monson
Tribune Columnist

Pony League Baseball and the human condition collided at home plate during a recent championship game, leaving defeat and doubt in one dugout, maybe disgust, too, and imperfect victory, at some cost, in the other.
Standing in the vortex, in the batter's box, was 9-year-old Romney Oaks, a survivor of brain cancer who played little league baseball, in part, because he wanted to be a regular kid who did regular things. What he became, after that single at-bat, though, was anything but regular.
He was transformed into the explosive centerpiece - "a powder keg," as the league president put it - of a discussion about what junior sports should teach children who participate, what the value of that participation is, whether adults mess up the kids' fun, and at what price winning should come. Clear-cut answers are about as easy as knocking a heavy split-fingered fastball out of the yard.
Romney struck out.
And ignited an uproar.

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