Updated August. 27, 2014 01:48
When Korea`s Little League team grabbed No. 1 title in 29 years, the 13 baseball players said they wanted to eat ramen, according to Lee Al-cham, secretary-general of Seoul National University Baseball Academy who worked as an interpreter for the team.
Lee said, "When the game was over, I asked the boys what they wanted to eat the most and all of them shouted ramen. I should buy them cup ramen." Lee told a story about the Korean team`s victory.
Lee said the boys had an innocent and naive postured throughout the event compared to adults who stayed nervous. Ahead of the finals for international groups with Japanese team on Sunday, he said the boys played games for chocolates and cookies, which they enjoyed with big laughters. The young players were really enjoying the event. When a U.S. caster asked about rivalry with the Japanese team, Lee answered with pride, "This is children`s baseball game and they are not bothered."
Lee said he and the coaching staff were so nervous before the game that they had to skip breakfast, but the boys were in good shape that he could expect their victory. The Korean team massively scored at the second inning raising hopes for a win, but coaching staff on the bench were fretting about any possible variable. The boys had a naive look before the game but they were different in the field. All of them performed better than expected, and they were realizing dreams on behalf of adults. They were daring, and that was their power.
After the Korean team won Jackie Robinson West Little League (Chicago) at the finals Sunday, Lee told U.S. reporters that he and his team wanted to go to the Presidential Office to meet President Park Geun-hye.
Lee said he first hardened his mind saying to himself "lets enjoy the event with the children since it is children`s festival and it is more important to offer the boys a precious lifetime experience than winning." But as the game started, he yearned for winning. He recalled how anxious he was. His nerves were in edge as he had to support the coaching staff, encourage the players and interpret judges and event personnel. However, his team`s victory washed off concerns. It was sports after all, he said.
Now that the event is over, I`m feeling heart throbbing. I finally realized the genuine purpose of baseball as sports. This is different from the feelings I got when we won against Japan or felt patriotism. The boys and the coaching staff were all so good. They performed their roles, encouraged each other, formed a good teamwork and made efforts to win. All this resulted in good outcome. In such a favorable situation, our team played baseball with good people and exchanged with them. It feels like heaven.
Just before the finals started, tears welled up in my eyes as I saw Korean teenagers shyly take out Korean national flags and cheer, and when Japanese players wore T-shirts embedded with Korean flag image that they have exchanged with our players the previous day and shouted our boys` names. This is the true meaning of baseball. I hope our victory serves as a chance for the development of Korea`s youth baseball.