Wrapping up another season of baseball, I find myself a bit nostalgic. We’ve been playing in the BYB league since Dexter was in first grade. Each season brings trials and triumphs, but as I sit here reflecting on last night’s playoff defeat, it’s bittersweet to know that the greatest success of team sports comes with the challenges–and not necessarily with the wins. I’ve written before about the value of being part of a team. But, at the close of this season, it’s the life lessons of baseball that are amplified. They’re laced throughout each and every game–no matter the end result.
Every Game Is a Chance to Learn
They’ve all had the chance to strike out, knowing that the batter coming up next is often waiting there with a fist bump and a “You’ll get ‘em next time.” This skill of encouragement will serve them for a lifetime.
They’ve stood in the spotlight, all eyes on them, knowing that the key to success is staying ready—and waiting for the right moment. Learning to be patient is not easy; it must be practiced.
They’ve gotten hit with pitches, and cheered on when they rallied to first base. This develops grit and perseverance.
They’ve disagreed with calls. At some point in life, they’ll disagree with authority. This teaches them how to display tact, even through frustration.
They’ve hustled for plays, having to rely on another player to complete it. This is a practice in trust and the importance of working together.
They’ve dropped the ball (quite literally), and in that moment, they’ve had to get straight with themselves about accepting a miss and shaking it off. These moments allow them to experience humility and the understanding that everyone makes mistakes.
They’ve looked on as coaches, players and spectators from opposing teams have acted in undignified ways. They’ve experienced how it feels to be put in that position, to hear those conversations from their coaches with the explicit understanding that their team won’t behave that way. These times provide powerful examples of how to carry themselves forward with grace in the face of adversity.
They’ve played every role, knowing how it feels to do the job of each and every teammate. This teaches them empathy.
They’ve shown up, knowing that being part of a team means that everyone else is relying on you. This is a lesson in toeing the line.
All of this could not be possible without the exceptional coaches we’ve had. They’ve rallied, supported, encouraged, and entrusted responsibility. The life lessons of baseball will carry these young people through their lives. And, for that, I am incredibly grateful.