Lessons from Little League

 

 

“Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday's success or put its failures behind and start over again. That's the way life is, with a new game every day, and that's the way baseball is”. ~ Bob Feller

 

This week our son started the “extended” season of Little League.  We’ve never signed him up for this before, but I am glad we did this year.His team consists of 5 guys from the team he played with during the regular season and several boys from a team he had played with the past 2 seasons.  To say that he is excited would be an understatement.  He’s happy because the “bully” isn’t playing which means he can sit where he wants on the bench without the fear of being bitten, hit or bothered and he gets to laugh and play with other boys who he likes and enjoys being with.  He also has the fun of playing for this year’s coach and the coach who really taught him the basics the last two years. 

 

 

 

While I was sitting there watching him last night I thought about how baseball has really been good for him, a great game with lessons that can also apply to other areas of his life . . .

Baseball really is a game of patience, in the extended season we’ve moved from “coach pitch” to “kid pitch”, 8 year old boys trying to throw that little ball 35 feet and get it in the strike zone . . . talk about patience!  Those boys in the field really have to work at staying focused for when the batter actually gets a ball that he can hit!  They need to be ready to react even if it appears that there isn’t going to be any action coming their way.

 

CJ has become a member of a team where the boys have really caught on to the fact that their success depends not only on how well they play as an individual, doing their part to hit, catch or throw the ball to where it needs to be but more importantly how well they play as a team.  I saw that displayed last night when some of the boys would strike out, they came back to the bench to high fives, “that’s okay”, and “next time” from team mates.  When a new pitcher was brought on, there was encouragement given from the boys in the field, “bring the heat”, “you can do it”, “just one more strike!”  I love that he is learning to be an encourager of others, regardless of their performance or abilities.

 

 

 

Baseball serves as a good model for democracy in action: Every player is equally important and each has a chance to be a hero.” ~ Edward Abbey

 

Perhaps one of the most important things that he is learning for himself is that with hard work, he really can become better than he thought he could be. On the baseball field his disability, his memory loss issues, his lack of feeling in his fingertips, his constant struggle to learn to read all seem to fall to the wayside for just a little while.  During these 2 hours on a beautiful summer night, he has that same chance as anyone else on the team to succeed.  He can cheer his teammates on, he can joke with his coaches, and he can learn like Babe Ruth that he should never let the fear of striking out get in his way. 

Yes, baseball is a wonderful relief for our son, I am thankful that he has caught on to the game enough that he not only enjoys it, but can be a contributor on the team both in his ability to play and the act of being an encourager of others.   While he may be too young to realize this now, as he gets older I hope that he will be able to look back on his time in this sport and be able to apply it to areas of his life that may all too soon become more and more of a challenge for him.  That when he has to work harder to keep up in school, struggles to remember facts and has to spend twice as long reading for an assignment than his peers that he’ll realize he can do it.  While it may not be easy, he will be able to do it.

 

 

 

 

“One of the beautiful things about baseball is that every once in a while you come into a situation where you want to, and where you have to, reach down and prove something.” ~ Nolan Ryan

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