2 Players Stayed Glued To Their Smartphones During The Little League World Series For A Great Reason

No, they aren't playing Candy Crush.

At this year's Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, two Little League players sat next to each other, both staring at their respective smartphones. They weren't consumed by a game of Candy Crush or glued to a Snapchat story. No, they were using technology for the best reason possible — to make an organic, human connection with someone unexpected. 

The boys, one from South Dakota and the other from the Dominican Republic, used Google Translate to communicate with each other. 

What did the talk about? Well, if one had to guess, probably baseball.

They were brought together by their shared love of the sport, and Google Translate simply helped them make a new friend while they were at it. 

The two players were captured in a picture and then tweeted out on August 20 by Bob Holtzman, a former ESPN anchor now with the Major League Baseball Players Association. Underneath the image, he wrote, "The coolest thing I've seen today: players from the DR and South Dakota having a conversation w/ Google translate. #MLBLittleLeagueClassic". 

Holtzman certainly wasn't the only one who appreciated the unique "coolness of this moment. 

The internet also considered it a home run, with nearly 24,000 likes and 9,000 retweets.

While many are quick to criticize young people's frequent use of technology, especially smartphones, this picture shows how it can also be a powerful tool to break down language barriers and bring people together. And it's hardly the first time Google Translate and apps like it have done so. 

In early February, a group of five friends launched Tarjimly, a Facebook Messenger bot that closes the language divide between refugees and aid workers by connecting to translators anywhere in the world at any time. This app has given back to many refugee families something essential to their survival: the ability to communicate. 

Even before that life-saving technological advance, in November 2016, a 10-year-old girl, Amanda Moore, used Google Translate to write a note asking Rafael Anaya, a classmate who didn't speak much English, to have lunch with her. That single letter helped the two girls form a new friendship, in a way that might not have been possible years before.  

The same goes for the Little League players who, regardless of whose team emerge victorious from their World Series, will have won something even more important — a new friend.

Cover image via Shutterstock.

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