Life Compass
Keeping You Pointed in the Right Direction

Little League … Big Dreams

I have written and commented on several occasions about my love for the game of baseball. I have had no shortage of opinions regarding parents who live vicariously through their little athletes. Having been a coach, athletic director, and even a league president … I never thought of myself as one of “those” parents. My son, Andrew, has been playing baseball since he was old enough to hold a bat. In the beginning he played on his brother’s teams which meant he always played in a division that was 2 years over his head.

When we moved to Florida he missed one full year of play. In January of this year we signed him up for Little League. He did well in his try out and was drafted on a good team. He started out on fire. In fact, his batting average was over .800 in the first three weeks of the season. A walk off grand slam and in the park home run got the other coaches attention. He turned some heads which led to his being invited to try out for a travel ball team. Then he went into a slump. How could this happen? He looked awkward and out of place at the plate, made some foolish errors in the field, and got himself depressed. Like most dad’s I wanted to be supportive and encouraged him. BUT like most dad’s my own sense of feeling his frustration showed through.

He did well in his travel ball debut … 2 for 4 at the plate and threw out a runner out.

But Little League was a struggle. Two back-t0-back games he went blank at the plate. In his mind his batting average must be dropping into the sewer. He got in the van after his game Thursday night … mad, upset, and totally shattered. I tried to talk to him. He wasn’t having it. His older brother tried to talk to him. Nope. Not him either. Finally, I said, “kid, it’s up to you. Your slump is psychological. You have one bad at bat and you allow it to effect your entire game the rest of the night.” We made it to our driveway and he decided he wanted to talk to his coach. So I drove him back to the field. He got out of the van and went up to his coach alone. They took a walk. Andrew didn’t really tell me what the conversation was about. The next morning I threw him batting practice. We got back to basics. Too many coaches telling him too many things. “Step and Drive” as been our method for both boys since forever.

His coach must have appreciated his talking to him rather than an upset dad or mom. He moved Andrew from lead off to clean up in the next game. WOW. He put him at the position he requested. He let nothing passed him and he went 2 for 4 at the plate with a game tying 2 run RBI to save the game. His coach invested faith in him and was rewarded for it.

As a dad … yeah, I’m proud of him. Not for the record but for his character. He didn’t whine and make excuses. He knew there was problem. He went to the coach on his own. Whether he realizes it or not he took his first steps to manhood that night…

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