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Little League's Life Lessons

Updated on October 30, 2016

Many Levels

I am a huge proponent of how little league sports can help in developing a youngster both mentally and physically. With good coaching little league can have positive and lasting effects on young boys and girls. Sports was always a big part of my childhood and I'm happy that my son enjoys it as much as I did. Watching him develop right before my eyes while playing club league soccer is an amazing experience that I am incredibly thankful for. Now that I'm on the parent side of the little league spectrum I've begun to gather a whole new appreciation and perspective for what my parents went through. There are so many moving parts and it can be a lot to take in at times. Watching his development, understanding how sports can be an integral factor in teaching him life lessons, the happiness when he does well, sadness when he's having a bad day and particularly watching how he handles conflict situations...and me.

Drama? No way!

Then there's the drama. Cliquey moms, bias towards your own child (it's hard to be objective) or watching another kid not being a good team mate while his parents, or the coach, do nothing about it. I guess I had repressed memories of these kids because I'd forgotten, or simply haven't had the need to think about them until now. Believe it or not, they are still here and always will be. However, just like everything else, they are here for a reason.

One of these little kids was pulling some shenanigans with my son the other night as a matter of fact (of course my son wasn't the one misbehaving). I wasn't able to hear the conversation but was pretty sure I knew what was happening. After a little while of watching this "conversation" I inadvertently yelled at my son because I wanted him to be the bigger person and simply end their little disagreement. By the way, when I say conversation or disagreement I'm talking about an argument between two competitive 8 year old boys. Anybody who has watched little boys argue knows it's like taking a step into the have no idea how it will turn out. Of course the other kid's dad wasn't doing anything about it (which, unfortunately happens more often than it should).

Teacher Becomes Student

Looking back I probably should've let it play out to see what happened. It might've taught him, or at least exposed him to a conflict situation. It would have been good to see how he handled it then custom fit my parenting to the situation. And yeah, I yelled at him too. I didn't want him to think he was doing anything wrong. It was a knee-jerk reaction on my part. He was actually doing what the captain of his team told him to do which was to play a certain position. The other kid was the one being a brat because he wanted to play the same position my son was instructed to do. He was pulling the old "make me" routine common with 8 year olds. Some of this stuff still makes my blood boil. It's amazing what the power of having a child will do to a grown man.

If you're asking where the coach was during this "battle of the titans"...he wasn't. Their regular coach was away so there was another coach happily filling in from the same league but who coaches older kids. So maybe he wasn't experienced in coaching 8 year-olds, or maybe he was because he was letting it play out? Maybe the other dad was playing the right card all along!? Maybe I was the only one who couldn't see the valuable life lesson happening right before our eyes? Talk about eye-opening.

Humble Pie Tastes Good

By yelling at my son I sent him the wrong message. I sent him the message of giving in despite what you believe. I ended the situation for him rather than watching him see it through no matter what the result would have been. I talked with him after I realized that I was in the wrong. He's such a smart kid so he understood and took my apology.

Maybe I'm looking into the situation too much. Maybe substitute coach and other dad aren't the sages of wisdom as described above, maybe they just weren't paying attention or maybe they didn't see anything wrong with what was happening. It obviously struck a chord with me or else I wouldn't be putting so much thought into it much less writing about the whole experience. Either way I'm glad my son and I went through this ordeal together and even more so how we talked about it afterwards.

In the end he actually taught me a lesson. Nobody said parenting was going to be easy. He teaches me as much, if not more, than I teach him and I love him for it.

How would you have handled the situation?

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