The saddest part of the story is children suffered because of childish actions by adults.

At a baseball game in June for 7-year-old boys in Lakewood, Colorado, a 13-year-old umpire warned an adult to stop using foul language. To be fair, coaches and fans of the two teams of 7-year-olds had been “chirping” — baseball lingo for badgering each other — throughout their game.

The adults on both sides, though, began to argue whether the offending adult should be removed from the grounds. The arguments turned into a fight, with one man sucker-punched. Several injuries were reported, according to the Lakewood Police Department.

“It was kind of weird,” the young umpire told a Denver-area television station. “I shouldn’t have to tell a grown man how to act around little kids.”

Here are the sad parts. A video of the bizarre scene shows the 7-year-olds running scared from the field. Then the two teams of 7-year-olds’ summer fun ended.

The adults were given citations for disorderly conduct, and the Bear Creek Junior Sports Association banned the adults for life.

It doesn’t seem to be enough punishment for ruining what should be fond childhood memories.

•••

It could be because of the times — the mid-1960s — or because we were living on military-base housing outside of Tokyo that I can only remember little league baseball games as a time where the adults seemed to use the games to socialize.

Maybe because, since most parents were military, the Vietnam War might have weighed a little heavier on their minds than which little league team won.

Although I played a couple of seasons of organized sports, for some reason, when I became a teen, it just seemed more fun to play pickup games around the neighborhood.

No scheduled summer activities, no schedule at all, for that matter. It was just a matter of one of us showing up with a baseball, football and basketball, and off we would head to a field behind the neighborhood.

Then there was The Rivalry between those of us living in the Green Acres, yes Green Acres, subdivision and those from our school living in the Twin Lakes subdivision.

The games were scheduled during lunch hour at school, older brothers or sisters were enlisted for transportation, and we called our own fouls in football and basketball, strikes or balls in baseball. There were a few parents there, but they were more interested in cooking hamburgers and socializing in the parking lot.

That was until The Big Game. While the city league had ended, the baseball field was opened, and one of the regular umpires agreed to call the game.

It was the game I almost hit a home run and almost got thrown out at first base on the same play.

As I thought I saw the ball go over the left-field fence, I began celebrating and walking toward first. Not until my friend Paul began yelling at me from the dugout, did I look and see the cutoff man, the shortstop, turning to throw to first. Luckily for me, his throw was a little late.

But only my teammates yelled, not adults, and we all got hamburgers, soft drinks and ice cream after the game.

Now, those are the kind of memories children should have.

Dave Mathews: 409-683-5258; dave.mathews@galvnews.com

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Charlotte O'rourke

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