Lessons From Little League

I’ve been involved in Little League since I was a young man. I can still recall the butterflies, excitement, and the crowds that came to watch us under the bright lights.. Years later, I’m now a coach watching my own boys take their turn on the baseball diamond. Today, Little League is not near as much of a big deal to me, but I realize its a very big deal to each of them. And, I’m afraid some things may never change.

One, there are still coaches that seek to live vicarously through their boys. Many of them take the game way more serious than their own children. The looks on their faces tell you they believe this is the major leagues as they all hope their boys grow up to play for the Atlanta Braves. These coaches will do whatever it takes to get their boys on the all star team and I really do mean anything. On one hand, I applaud their efforts and time spent with these young men. On the other hand, I pray they don’t allow basesball to become bigger than life. After all, it is just a game.

Two, there are still parents who make a lot of noise in the stands. Parents who are just waiting for a reason to cheer on their baby. Parents who are just waiting to put in place any coach who does not give their son preferencial treatment. Its not that they don’t care about the other kids, but they do want their son to be at the front of the line. I meet these kinds of parents every year I coach and they always have strong opinions. Fortunately for parents, most umpires are not allowed to throw parents out of the ball park for unnecessary conversation and unsportsmanlike attitudes. Otherwise, the stands might be a lot thinner.

Finally, there are still great teams and there are some not so great teams. One thing for sure about baseball, its a team sport. My kids have played on those teams that were fortunate enough to go undefeated and they’ve played on those teams that were lucky if they won a game. In fact, the team I help coach presently, is a very young bunch of kids who at this point just hope to keep the game even close. So far we’ve been blown out in every game, but the kids are having fun. And, that’s what it’s all about RIGHT, PARENTS? Now, there is a lot baseball can teach us about life.

#1: In life you are not always going to feel like a winner. It is during those times that we have to realize that the man made scoreboard does not determine our success. Our success instead should be measured by our effort, our attitude, and our thoughtfulness of others alonge the way. All we can do is make the most of the time, talent and opportunities that come our way. The results are in God’s hands.

#2: In life things won’t always go your way. There will always be calls from the referees that you won’t agree with. There will always be decisions made by the coaches that you second guess. And, there will always be winning moments and losing moments. Life is full of ups and downs and we have to learn to take the good with the bad.

#3: In life your attitude will always matter. Personally I would rather teach a child how to handle adversity with class than to win a ball game any day. One of the reasons I help coach baseball is the opportunity to shape the hearts of both the kids and the parents. There are always kids on the team who have never had a Christ-like role model, love at home, and someone to encourage them in life. No matter what we’re dealing with in life our attitudes matter. We must learn to see the glass half full, not half empty. We must learn how to have peace and enjoy ourselves even when the scoreboard makes us sick.

To all involved in this great sport called Little League. Please continue to support these young men on the baseball field. Keep in mind that every player represents someone special and full of God given potential. And, as you cheer them around those bases make sure you raise them up to be fine young men that make God smile. Men who understand life will throw us all curve balls, our attitudes do matter, and that in the end baseball is just a game. God bless you all.

“Train a child in the way he should go. When he is old, he will not turn away from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

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