Little Big Men, an ESPN 30 for 30 film, aired Tuesday night on the sports network, chronicling the 1982 Little League World Series champions from Kirkland, Washington, especially star pitcher Cody Webster. This film is the creation of filmmaker Al Szymanski, and shows not only highs of winning a big game, but what happens when the media attention focuses greatly on one player, who happened to be Cody Webster. The ESPN 30 for 30 film Little Big Men shows the highlights of the All-Stars from Kirkland, Washington winning the 1982 Little League World Series. That event created much hoopla around the America.
The 1982 Little League World Series Champions from Kirkland, Washington Shocked the World as Shown on the ESPN 30 for 30 film Little Big Men
The film’s opening scenes show broadcaster Jim McKay introducing the 1982 Little League World Series final game. Soon, viewers see Cody Webster’s father going through old memorabilia of his from that time. But now Webster is a 40 year old driving around Kirkland (near Seattle) while talking about that championship year. Webster, Shawn Cochran, Brian Avery, Mark Peterson, Bill Cook and other players reminisce about how baseball was basically everything to them at a time when things were tough in America. The country needed a rallying point and the boys of Kirkland, Washington were in the right place at the right time to defeat the invincible Taiwan, who’d won 9 Little League World Series titles in 11 years.
Cody Webster, a very good all around athlete, threw balls as fast as 79 mph and was a noted home run hitter. Coaches Don Cochran and the late Pat Downs voluntarily coached the baseball team, and the latter was remembered for stressing mental toughness on the ballfield, but the boys didn’t mind and their play on the field netted victory after victory. In the regional playoffs in California, the team came back from 5-3 deficit with a 3-run homer by Brian Avery to beat Kodiak, Alaska, which was shown on the ESPN 30 for 30 film Little Big Men.
Eventually advancing to the 1982 Little League World Series, Kirkland, Washington won more games until they met the Taiwan squad, who had 31 consecutive wins in this tournament. Cody Webster, with the help of good defense and a “tape measure” home run, pitched a 2-hit, 12 strikeout, 6-0 shutout before a crowd packed like a can of sardines chanting “USA” over and over. Life was great in that moment, and the attention garnered for the champs was overwhelming. But things didn’t stay that way for the players, especially Cody Webster, who got the majority of the attention over the rest of his team, even though he was uncomfortable in the spotlight. As time passed on Little Big Men, Webster was shown to be under so much pressure to live up to the expectations and hype. He was the target of insults by opposing players and fans. It would affect his love of the game as his teenage years ensued, and Cody Webster never achieved the heights sportswise that he did that magical summer in 1982.
The ESPN 30 for 30 Film Little Big Men Shows Cody Webster and the Other Kirkland, Washington All-Stars as Reflective and Productive Adults
The film over the course of about an hour, shows other residents and personalities from the Kirkland, Washington area, including the players’ parents, reminiscing about what happened 28 years ago, and reflecting on what the win did for the area. But the players, now adults, reflect on how the darker side of fame affected their teammate Cody Webster, one former player even being driven to tears. Cody Webster and the other players are shown as productive adults who have come to terms with those events of yesteryear when the Kirkland, Washington All-Stars won the 1982 Little League World Series title. But the movie makes viewers ponder what happens when fame and the unrealistic expectations with it comes to youngsters.
For those of you who want to catch repeats of the ESPN 30 for 30 film Little Big Men, find out more at the ESPN 30 for 30 website.
“Little Big Men”, ESPN 30 for 30, August 31, 2010, ESPN