Miscellaneous

The Makings of the Best Coach in Little League Baseball – Here at Home

September 28, 2017

We are back into little league baseball season!  And this fall, not only is my youngest son playing t-ball, but my oldest is trying his hand at baseball.

I am happy (and surprised) to say, they are both in love with the sport.

And, once again I am in love with watching the little hearts and bodies play on the field.  The children are eager to learn as they defy their center of gravity in their batting helmets.  I almost want to reach out with my hand just in case one teeters over after running through first base!

I love watching them play.

My youngest had a great coach last year who planted a seed in his heart to love to play the game and to love to learn more about it.  He enthusiastically signed up again this fall.

My eldest is a different story.  It took some significant convincing to have him give baseball a try.

He simply had no interest what-so-ever in playing any sport.  I theorize any interest he may have had was stifled by yours truly and my spouse, a.k.a. his dad.  A few years back, those two relatively reasonable humans, who absolutely know better than to yell at their child during a game, found themselves doing so despite that sage wisdom.

It was on a lacrosse field.  Our son was six years old at-best and we watched him continually be spun around by the rest of the players over and over again as they ran up and down the field.

The same thing happened in basketball.  Except he was five.

“Run!” We ‘encouraged’ with our high-decibel voices in the most-loving tone we could find at that decibel range and at the frustration level where we found ourselves, after witnessing repeated lackluster attempts at anything resembling participation in the game that was being played.

And again.  “RUN!” Complete with an arm outstretched, hand extended and capped with a pointed index finger in the direction of the goal.

It was a mistake.  A big mistake.  And, we actually knew better.  Then, the error of our ways was reaffirmed by a Ted Talk I listened to, which I referenced before here.  (It is worth the listen).

I am convinced my eldest son’s complete lack of interest in organized sports over the last two-plus years is directly correlated to his parents.  To us.

When we asked why he didn’t want to play a sport, he responded, “I don’t like running.”

Go figure.  If someone enthusiastically yelled screamed at me to do something, I wouldn’t like it either.  Parent fail.

Sigh.

That, and he really prefers to make sure he has time set aside for reading.  He loves to read.  He told me the other night at bedtime that when he grows up he is going to lay in bed at night and read as long as he wants to.  Meanwhile, his little sister chimed in, “Mommy!  You know what I’m going to do?!  Watch shows!”

You win some.  You lose some.

This is my eldest on the playground yesterday after an early-release day from school (he is reading a book).

Playground reader - BaseballBut perhaps it is because he’s outgrown the place.

Moving on.

So, here we are:  mid-season of little league baseball and my eldest loves it.  And he runs like a bear is chasing him.

Enter Coach Chris.

Coach Chris single-handedly has changed the game for him.  I think Coach Chris may have changed sports for him.

Cajoling parents did the convincing to try baseball, but Coach Chris demonstrated why it was worth the try.

The seven/eight level is coach pitch.  And, before every pitch Coach Chris adjusts the player’s stance from the mound and when they’ve got it he says zestfully, calling them by name “Okay.  Have fun!  Here is comes!”

Batter Up at BaseballHe doesn’t yell at the children, but he does correct them and ensures he caps it off with encouragement.

I’ve tried to find the words to depict him for you, but he is a bit hard to describe.  As such, what I have compiled is a bit of a rambling thesaurus of adjectives.  Humor me and paint a picture with them:  he is passionate, charismatic, energetic, fun, firm, structured, knowledgeable, and loving and all of that is rooted in the purest of intentions, which are to garner the love of baseball into the hearts of these children.

And he is quick.  He moves like a cricket with kangaroo legs as he demonstrates the skills he wants the kids to learn.  There is no beer belly barking from the sidelines or the dugout.

Coach Chris is not in it to win it, but to teach the kids to learn it and to love it.

Baseball Practice

I have even seen him leave the mound to offer advice to the catcher on the other team and also cheer enthusiastically for a batter on the other team who he has seen struggle inning after inning.

I won’t say what I’ve seen other coaches do (or not do).

Coach Chris has taken my son, who did not like to run and who did not like to play organized sports, and has morphed him into a child who is enthusiastic and excited to learn a game and to play the game to the absolute best of his ability.  He took pieces of a puzzle – the fundamentals, the pride, the energy, the enthusiasm, the love of the game and put them into my son’s heart.

Score BaseballYou cannot ask for more than that.

Coach Chris knows that it isn’t about winning the World Series today.  It is about planting a seed into the heart of someone who might get a chance to play in it one day.  He is coaching childhood sports the way the folks over at the Changing the Game Project would approve.

But, just one thing –  don’t kick the dirt on Coach Chris’ watch.  And if you do, you better stop when he asks you to.

Baseball DirtBecause, if you kick the dirt and keep kicking the dirt, Coach Chris will make you run the bases.  I’ve seen it happen.  It should happen.  But what is interesting, is that when it happens – the kids are laughing as they run the bases as fast as they can, because they know – don’t kick the dirt.

XO and Journey On,
Melissa


Some Facts About Our Sun

Baseball is a hot sport.  Unless you have the luxury of watching a baseball game in a covered field, or at night time, in most instances the sun is beating down on you.  Here are a few facts about our star.

Compared to other stars, the sun is only average in size.  The star Alpha Orionis, in the constellation Orion, is almost 400 times bigger than (and 10,000 brighter than) the sun.  Despite the fact that our sun pales in comparison to Alpha Orionis, 100 Earths could still fit inside of our sun.

The sun, like all stars, is a ball of hydrogen gas and it radiates heat and light.  Every second the sun converts four million tons of matter into energy.  Our planet’s distance from the sun makes it ideal for terrestrial life with the provided protection of our atmosphere.  Without that we would succumb to the sun’s heat and deadly radiation.

I’m now keeping an umbrella in the car because our ball fields aren’t covered.  And, unless our games are in the evening, it is hot here in North Carolina!

Journey on friends!

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