With three kids playing every sport known to man starting at age 4, we clocked in a lot of hours in yard chairs and bleachers over the years.
We heard many a coach say at the opening of the season that he didn’t care if the kids win or lose, he just wanted them to have fun and learn the game.
And maybe he did mean what he said and maybe he didn’t; but I can tell you that the coaches who did mean it were worth their weight in gold.
So when your little grandson heads to the ball park for his first ever
being on a team
getting a uniform experience…
you just hope and pray that the coaches understand this is t-ball and not a conference game with State riding on the outcome.
And you watch as his mom and dad get him his gear
and launch what could turn into 14 or more years of America’s favorite pastime.
You swallow back memories of your own years as the parent.
And you dare to hope you will be dragging your yard chair and parking it right next to Papi’s for most of those games; because there are no guarantees and life is fragile.
And you pray for favor when you see that the little guy is inches shorter than the shortest kid on the team.
And right there at the end of the very first game of the season, as the team is heading to the dugout for their last bat…
your sweet little grandson is running to the coach with one of his shoes in his hand.
And it’s the moment of truth…
what kind of coach do we have here?
And then you breathe a prayer of thanks because it looks like we have the right kind.
The kind who knows how to stoop down…
and help his player get that shoe back on the right foot.
Of all the games we watched our own children play, the finest coaching moments were ones that had nothing to do with the sport and everything to do with the character of our children.
I understand the need to teach the skills to succeed in sports and I understand the competition that is part of those who play a sport with passion…
but I thank God for the men and women in the ranks of coaches who continue to place higher value on the heart of a player than the score of a game.