Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Learning from All Star Little League Baseball Games

Whether if it's professional or amateur, All Star Games are played by the selected best players from teams in the region.  What's intriguing is that the best players don't necessarily play as the best teammates.  That's why each team's coach must have great skills to promote trust among young players.  To win or lose, watching your own child in the game is the best part, but there are some considerations between winning and losing.  That is the "trust".

In the fourth inning,  the All Star Little League Team Fabulous wanted more runs that would make them feel secure.  With two outs, a runner with the number 52 stole the second base.  The first base crowd roared like a thunder, almost forgetting about a young ball player with number 17 on his back in the batter's box.  The batter with the number 17 swung his bat fiercely.  He hit the ball.  The ball flew over the dugout.  Foul.  The whole audience sighed.  It was evident that most people, except his parents, didn't have much hope for a big hit from him, because of his batting record in this prestigious tournament.  All Star games intimidate many qualified players, no matter how well their seasons went in the smaller regions.  The blue uniformed pitcher threw another ball to the catcher.  "Strike!"  The count now became 2 strikes and 2 balls.  But as soon as the umpire made the call, the catcher somehow dropped the ball from his mitt.  He madly circled around home plate to look for his lost ball.  At another side of the diamond, the number 52 began dashing like a mad bull towards third base.  The third base coach yelled, "No, no, go back!"  The lucky catcher found his ball in 1 second and this lucky ball was in the third base players glove before the bull reached.  "Out!  Three outs!" The umpire exclaimed. While the whole audience reacted on the commotion of the bull, nobody noticed player number 17's disappointment in that of which he lost probably the last batting chance of his little league career. Team Fabulous lost their chance, but they were still 2 points ahead of their opponent.

Outfielders on the opponent team had been consistently cheering their teammates.  Under the coaches' strategies, several pitchers switched over the game.  Even though they were behind, their mental toughness was evident.

Team Fabulous was about to win at the bottom of last inning, however, the pitcher's physical strength was also running out.   Before they knew it, all bases were loaded.  Finally, a relief pitcher came to the mound.  Can you imagine, a 12 year old is on the demand of three straight strikes, three times in a row?  Perhaps he could of if he was called from the beginning of the inning.  As you can only imagine, Team Fabulous lost at the end.  All players dropped their heads down.  The relief pitcher told his teammates, "I don't care."

Dear readers, I am wondering if Team Fabulous could have had more trust, dignity, and respect to each other.  What if Number 52 had trusted Number 17?  Does 52 still try to steal the base?  Does 17 blame  52 on losing his chance to bat?   Didn't a relief pitcher really care about his team?  Was he embarrassed of the blame from teammates and fans?  These kids are only 11 to 13 years old.  Losing a game is sad, but most importantly, how to lose a game is a huge factor if the young players grow to be better players.  After all, baseball is not only a physical and technical game, but a team sport.  Sportsmanship and teamwork builds upon their trust. 

As a coach (teacher) myself, building a new community takes time and effort.  My hat is off for the All Star Coaches to do the same among these kids from different teams in such a limited time.  But don't you agree how essential it is for leaders to promote a team as a true team?  The team could cry together rather than complaining individually when they lose.  Then, at the end of the season party, all teammates and families would laugh and cheer about how great the season was, regardless of the result.  Kids would grow up and still remember these great memories of their comrades.  That is all about the Little league.