Little League - 3 Great Reasons Why Your Children Should Play
It's Baseball Season!
Carl E. Stotz is not a household name at all. In fact I'm sure most people aren't familiar with his name or his history. But Carl E. Stotz may be more of a household name than you think.
If you hearken back to the late 1930's, and you lived near Williamsport Pennsylvania, you might have been involved in a baseball league designed for youth. Now it wasn't much back then, an old baseball diamond with no fence, and three very young teams, Lycoming Dairy, Lundy Lumber and Jumbo Pretzel, named afterthe first three sponsors for a new up and coming league. The $30 dollars of sponsorship money could put uniforms on all three teams.
The first 3 managers, Carl Stotz, George Bebble, and Bert Bebble, were the pioneer managers that led to one of the greatest youth sports program the world has ever known - also known as Little League!
As the days of Spring are now upon us, I look forward to longer, warmer days, the smell of hot dogs, and the sound of crowds cheering as these young boys entertain us with their baseball prowess.
There's something about Spring and baseball. It's like the Geico commercial and the 2 men who have been living under a rock for quite some time, they emerge to see a billboard sign. At some point, we all emerge from a long Winter hibernation, and there's something inside of us that want to put away the wool sweaters and down parkas an replace them with shorts and ballcaps.
Spring Means Baseball Is In The Air
The baseball season has now finaly arrived!
One of the great experiences I had as a youth was playing Little League. This is such a great experience for the young boys and I cannot endorse this sport more.
As I was looking at the baseball logo, I couldn't help but look at the 3 themes:
Character, Courage and Loyalty
Since my children are still young, I have been helping coach my kids team the last couple of years. Now as a player, it was pretty simple, coaching however, is another challenge altogether! I used to think managing a team would be easy, at least there would not be much to it, but boy was I ever wrong!
In a day where sports and competition has been elevated to new heights, the stress and pressure of winning has also been heightened. The practices, the games, the boys and all their different personalities, and the parents, all add together and produce challenges to the coach and his assistant coaches!
The first thing one could say is to put this crazy cocktail concoction called Little League in the "too hard box." There are moments where a coach wonders about his ability to stay sane and not lose the big picture of Character, Courage and Loyalty. But whatever haze shall descend upon the coach and his team, the reward is far greater for those who get involved and lead these young boys.
As a coach, one of the best traits you can witness being developed is character. Now character is not developed on the couch playing Wii! Character is developed through hardship and facing circumstances that are not in ones control. It's this very trait that I see developed during the year as these boys face the trials and tribulations of every game.
During the course of the game, the serendipitous moments are rife. As a coach watching from the dugout, sometimes the plays develop like a slow train wreck. And still others are executed with near perfection!
As circumstances vary during the course of the year, one can easily see character developing as these boys face hardships such as weather, rain and heat, long practices, getting hit by pitches and wild grounders, being down in runs, the jubilance of getting ahead, and the agony of defeat. It's interesting to see how boys react to different pressures and different circumstances. Some are able to overcome pressures better than others, but one thing is sure, they all learn about character. As a coach, it's my job to foster that character in these young boys.
How does one define courage? What does it look like? As a young baseball player, courage can be developed as the uncertainty of situational events and the ability to withstand them by enduring the event, are played out.
It could be the one pitcher in the league who is the traditional "man boy" who gets on the mound and appears to be throwing a 200 MPH fastball! To face him takes courage. It takes everything within the young boy to face this "Goliath" on the mound. As a coach, we yell at the kids to stay in the batters box, and eventually, they get through it, and produce a hit. They overcome their fears and slowly develop courage to face their fears.
It could be the one grounder that skips on a rock and takes a wild bound into their chest or ricochets off their chest. It hurts, there's no doubt about it. The first reaction is to wilt like a flower in the sun. But these boys are resilient, they remember the pain but they work through their fears and develop courage and confidence in their ability to handle the situation better next time.
These are some examples of courage but there are many more that develop over the course of the season.
One of the things the boys learn about playing with each other is that sooner or later, they are all going to make a mistake out on the field. It could be the proverbial "3rd called strike" with bases loaded in the 9th inning or the dropped fly out in the outfield with runners advancing to win the game. I've done that before! It's not fun. But before you throw in the towel, think about the concept of team sports.
One of the character traits, such as loyalty, is to learn to win together and to lose together. This is one of the best traits that is developed over the course of the season.
One of the easiest things the boys can do is to blame someone who does the inevitable: a dropped ball or make a game changing error. As a coach, I watch for these occurrences and encourage these young boys to stick together and not play the "blame game". Loyalty is about team, and team demands that these boys stick with each other through errors and great plays. There should be an environment that is free from blame and finger pointing.
The result should be obvious: the team that plays together and doesn't shoot their own is the team that will learn to prevail under pressure. This team will soar to new heights and produce quality of character and will enjoy more successes on the field.
A League You Won't Regret
As we work our way through a new season of baseball, I am ever challenged to be the leader on the team who inspires these character traits: character, courage and loyalty. It's very rewarding to be able to challenge each player as they face personal challenges through practices and game changing moments. It's exciting to be able to be involved in their lives and this very formative years of fostering character traits.
Little League baseball is a great way to encourage and build family relations through interaction with your children. Baseball is a great sport for a variety of reasons. One of the best reasons being the ability to get outdoors and out of the office. It's a chance to get involved in youth sports and to be the father one should be and to spend time with their young players.
And most of all baseball will create lifelong memories and their will be no regrets. You will have "seized the moment" and turned up character that these young boys will take far into the future.
It all started with you saying "yes" to Little League! If you want to have some great times and some great memories to build with your children, this fantastic league will provide everything and more.
Source for Article: Littleleague.org