COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The young players for the Northern Little League team may not have started school yet, but they say this experience in Williamsport, PA is teaching them huge life lessons.
Muscogee County Schools started August 9th, but with 12 less students than expected. That's because the Northern Little League team has been playing their way to baseball fame and have yet to hit the books.
For the past few weeks these middle school students have been glued to the television or the stadium seats as they cheered on the Northern Little League team.
"It's crazy. They were playing against me or on the same team as I was earlier this year and now they're on TV," said Will Maness, a classmate of a lot of the players at Midland Middle School.
These 7th and 8th grade boys have been spending more time on television than they have in the classroom.
Adam Diaz, a 7th grade student at Midland Middle School and former baseball teammate to a lot of the Northern players, told News Leader Nine, "Some people don't get the opportunity to do it, and they do. I'm kind of jealous, but I'm proud for them because they got that far."
Some may criticize the fact these kids haven't reported to school yet, but teachers understand this opportunity is more important right now.
Midland Middle School Athletic Director Terry Gaines said, "They're meeting all kinds of people from all over the place and they are having to be disciplined. They have to report to practice at a certain time and attend meal time, so they're being watched 24 hours a day by somebody. They're getting an education outside book, paper and pencil."
And the boys' parents aren't worried, because they know once the games are over, school will come first.
Jacob Pate's father, Jody, explained, "These kids are not only athletic and play ball, they're all really smart. I know they'll miss a month's worth of school, but I promise you, these guys will make it up, and make it up quick."
So while the players are becoming celebrity athletes, their classmates' jealousy won't last too long.
"It's unfair but they're going to have to make up all this work so we're going to sit back while Jacob and all them have three pounds of homework," said Lexie Stohr, who also has class with the boys at Midland Middle.
Coach Gaines added, some sports practices and after-school activities are ending early just so the kids can rush home and watch the boys play baseball.