Is it all about winning or losing? Is it about how you play the game? Or is it about the life lessons learned while playing team sports?
I played summer softball and was a clarinet player in the marching band growing up. At the time, I wasn’t paying much attention to what life lessons I might get out of being involved in activities where I had to be part of a team. Learning how to work and play well with others is a skill that we all must have to make life easier. None of us can do it alone, and if we don’t learn how to work as a team, it will be a much tougher journey.
We can teach kids a lot about life through sports. Sharing in their celebrations when the team does well and learning from the mistakes when the team loses, help them to not only become good baseball players, but also good people.
Lesson One: You don’t get to do what you want to do all of the time. Learning that one may have to do what the team wants them to do and not what one might want to do can be a difficult one to understand. Sometimes we don’t understand that the coach has a bigger goal in mind when they want us to do something we don’t want to do. Instead of seeing it as punishment to have to play it, how about looking at it as and opportunity to give you a break from that position, so another player can get some experience at the position you normally play? Playing right field when one really doesn’t want to is an example that has been brought up in our house. Right field is an important position on the field too, and someone needs to do it so that the team can play the game.
Adults can learn something from this too. In life, we don’t always get what we want when we want it either. And, how many times at work have we procrastinated the task we don’t want to do, even though our team needs us to do it?
Last night, as I sat by the baseball field waiting for the game to begin, I saw two teenage boys, dressed in baseball uniforms, helping their Dad put the white lines on the field. Getting ready for the game.
I wondered what the Dad was thinking as he was running the white chalk up the first base line. Is he enjoying it? Does he see the task as something he has to do? My hope is that he was doing it out of love for the game and his sons. It’s why my fiancee shows up early to his sons’ games. To get the field ready for them to play ball.
Even though his two sons are not mine biologically, I consider myself a baseball Mom. I’ve been at almost every game and have participated in volunteer opportunities to help the baseball association. I support them both in their pursuit of their dream to play baseball.
As I watch the players get ready to play, I hope that every kid has supportive parents or family in their lives. It’s a big commitment for the family to make for a kid to play baseball. But it needs to be done, not only for the kids, but for the parents to see the kind of kids they have and can be proud of. It is what our family does multiple times a week.