LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - When the Lufkin Little League All-Stars punched their ticket to Williamsport, Pa., by winning the Southwest Regional Championship last week, they may not have had an idea just how much they truly represent the Lufkin community.
The word "Lufkin" is now being represented on a global scale.
Other communities, like Grosse Pointe, Mich., Jackson, NJ, Sioux Falls, SD, Fairfield, Conn., Walla Walla, Wash., Greenville NC and Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., are joining Lufkin in the US brackets. Other communities from around the world, like Seoul, South Korea, and Santiago, Dominican Republic, are duking it out in the international bracket.
How often does a representative of the community get to compete on a global stage? Let's compare.
The city of Chicago celebrated when their Cubs broke a 108-year drought to capture the World Series title. And they had plenty to celebrate. But the Cubs were a 25-man roster with players from around the world, like Venezuela and Washington state. And it could be argued they didn't even win a "world" title, as they captured a Major League title. The Major League consists of one team from Canada and 29 from the US.
Many of the Lufkin All-Stars picked Brandon Belt as their favorite baseball player. For good reason, the first baseman is making Hudson and Lufkin proud on the San Francisco Giants. One could argue he represents his community well. But Belt plays on a team, again, with players from around the world and his jersey shows he's playing for San Francisco.
Olympic athletes compete on a world stage, but they are more known to represent their country, not their community.
When SFA upset West Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2016, all of East Texas celebrated and we still love our 'Jacks. But again, the SFA Lumberjacks are comprised of players from outside the area who proudly call Nacogdoches home for four years.
The point is, when the Lufkin All-Stars being World Series play on Thursday, their jersey will say "Southwest" on it, but everyone knows they're the Lufkin All-Stars and every single one of them comes from the Lufkin Little League.
The Super Bowl, NBA Finals and NCAA championship are not to be downplayed at all and they give various communities reasons to be proud.
But there are 13 boys from Lufkin, Texas, representing their community on a world stage and it's an extremely rare circumstance.
When you think about what other competitions which can provide the same opportunity, you may think about it a while. They may exist, but it may be tough to argue they're a bigger deal than the Little League World Series.