A Chicago Little League team is making history as they prepare to play in the Little League World Series Thursday, and a group of excited supporters headed out to watch their big day.
A number of supportive mothers left Chicago Wednesday morning to make the trek to Williamsport, Pennsylvania where they will watch the Jackie Robinson West little leaguers take the field.
They are the only Chicago team to make it to the World Series in three decades.
“I’m excited, nervous,” said Myrtle Houston as she prepared for the long drive ahead.
The mothers said the experience has been uplifting, and they hope the positive news surrounding their sons can help other kids in the city.
“It’s been like a dream,” said Linda Sneed. “I want all the kids to look at this and say ‘If they did it we can do something positive.’ Put the guns down, let’s do this together. It’s a Chicago thing and it’s a love thing.”
Chicagoans have flocked to show their support for the young team as they continue to move forward. A Thursday watch party has even been set up by the Chicago White Sox and city leaders at the Jackie Robinson Field.
Dick's Sporting Goods, which is holding a promotion to raise funds for some of the player's families to travel to the tournament, said they sold out of 300 T-shirts in less than 24 hours and plans to put an additional 500 on shelves Thursday. The retailer created custom t-shirts that can be purchased at the 1100 S. Canal St. store.
“It feels great to see that the boys get so much support from just people everywhere we go every store we go into,” said Sheree Hondras.
For the players, the excitement may be about the game, but the moms say the experience is one they hope their sons will always remember.
“This is a huge moment and right now they’re kids and they just want to play baseball so they don’t see the bigger significance of the moment that they’re in but in years to come I think that this will stick with them forever and it’ll mean a lot to them,” Hondras said.