Baseball and Life Lessons

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We had a great night of baseball last night. Josh’s team won second (or third…Brian wasn’t sure and it didn’t say on the trophy) in the tournament that they finished up. (Hey, maybe Karen knows…if you’re reading, leave a comment if you know where they placed.) Megan’s team started a new tournament and won their first game 13-8. It was really cool to watch them. Only a handful of the kids on her team have ever played before. Her coach has been an assistant coach on his step-daughters’ high school teams, but has never coached Little League or even been involved at our rec league. At first, I thought that this was going to be great because the coach knows how to coach. Many of the rec league coaches are dads who’ve played, but never coached, so their teaching skills are learn as you go. (I know this because Brian coached last year! lol)

Well, after the first couple of practices and the first game, I started having doubts. I mean, here’s this guy telling the kids to throw the ball to each other when “everybody” knows that you don’t tell 5/6 yr olds to throw the ball (with the possible exception of a team with a first baseman that can catch) or else you’re going to have the whole Bad News Bears thing going on all over the field while the other team’s runner makes a home run on a base hit.

And, then, he started teaching them how to back each other up — if the ball goes here, then this kid goes after it, while this kid moves over to cover the base; if the ball goes here, then you have to cover this kid and you have to cover this kid. I mean, c’mon. Like 5/6 yr olds are going to remember all that.

Well, let me just get a nice, big glass of sweet tea to wash down my humble pie. You should have seen those kids playing ball last night! Maybe “well-oiled machine” is a little dramatic, but, man, did they play as a team! I mean, they worked together. They listened to their coaches. They threw the ball where it was supposed to go…and they caught! They got in front of the ball and stopped it on several plays where I was just sure that the ball was headed to the outfield and the runner was headed home. They almost got a double play, for crying out loud! (The only reason they didn’t is because the kid who caught the ball didn’t understand about a “forced run” and took the time to tag the runner.) They hit the ball. We’re allowed two tee hitters per game and I don’t think we used the tee at all. All the kids got hits.

And, you know why I think they played so well? Because nobody bothered to tell their coach that you can’t coach 5/6 yr olds that way. Ever heard that saying about how people live up…or down…to your expectations? I saw that in action last night. I think this is going to be a really fun year.

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