Life Interrupted a Baseball Game


There must be millions of kids who participate in youth baseball, football, basketball, and soccer.

We learn as we go along, both adults and kids.

The kids first learn from their parents, hopefully about how they should act. If you’re lucky their father has taught them something about the sport they will participate in.  While they are playing sports, they learn from the coaches.

As I look back, I try to remember what I taught the kids when I coached youth baseball. At that time there were no girls on the team. Some would argue there is no difference in coaching boys and girls. I beg to differ. Girls are more sensitive. There’s nothing wrong with that. Boys at that age are klutzes when it comes to the finer points of mannerisms. Girls are not. Boys can learn a thing or two from girls about that, but mostly they muddle along until they reach the age of dating, and they find klutz doesn’t work anymore.

Perhaps today it is a more callous world, and finery is not a necessity. I do think a fellow acting like a gentleman still wins him points with the girls.

The first thing I taught our baseball team is we go out to win. No, not an all-consuming absolute had to win. The reason I taught winning is that a kid will not listen to you when you’re coaching, and you’re losing on a consistent basis.

We didn’t win a trophy every year, but we took the team to the wire that won the trophy.

How you win is important. If we won, and one of our boys tried to taunt the other team, I wanted to jerk him by his ear, and correct that immediately. I did call him aside in the middle of a respectful celebration, and straighten him out. I’d tell him there will be games you lose, and you will feel just like the guys on the losing team feel today. There will be times in life when you’ll lose, and it’s important you know how to act.

I taught them they should respect their parents, and that just talking about it wouldn’t get it done. Taking out the garbage a time or two without being told wouldn’t hurt. I left it to them to find other ways to show respect. I’m certain some of them came from homes where the parents were separated or divorced and that made it difficult for them to understand. Maybe I reached one or two of them.

When life moved on, and they became adults, and I became older, I was always curious as to what happened to them. Unfortunately it is not like a high school class reunion, where you gather every five or ten years or so, and you know what those in attendance have been doing, and those who are not there have sent in an info sheet telling everyone what they do for a living.

One of my boys did become an emergency room doctor, another a lawyer, another a CEO of a hamburger chain, another a police detective.

One I had ticketed for prison. I hope he never made it.

The rest of my boys, I’m not sure. Maybe they distributed themselves over these United States and are doing okay, maybe some of them quite well.

A couple of my boys died too young. I think of them first when I remember our teams.

You know, I believe our boys of summer taught me more than they learned from me.


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