In last week’s post, Why I Don’t Pay for Sports, baseball mom, Jenifer Armstrong gave a list of valuable life lessons her kids have gotten from playing sports, lessons that have nothing to do with the actual sports themselves. Lessons about hard work, earning your place on a team, how to lose gracefully, how to win with humility, how to respond when the umpire blows a call. You know, the kinds of things that will go on to define them as people long after they’ve put away their cleats.
While watching our kids on the ball field, I get as excited as any parent over a flawless play, a clutch hit or a stellar pitching performance. But what stands out more than anything to me is the good (and sometimes bad) sportsmanship that players exhibit. These small, often overlooked gestures can tell us more about a kid than his or her batting average, on-base percentage and ERA combined.
Over the years, I’ve heard hundreds of excuses from parents dismissing their kids’ bad behavior during games.
Player throws his helmet to the ground after the third strike.
MOM: “TERRIBLE!!! That umpire has no business behind the plate!”
The rest of us are thinking, “That may be true, but your kid’s acting like a punk…and you’re allowing it.”
I could give plenty more examples like this. We all could! But, instead, I’d rather focus on good sportsmanship, those positive gestures that make us smile and say “what a great kid!”
You guys have shared so many with us on our Facebook page. No doubt as you scroll through these, you’ll be nodding, saying to yourself, “now that’s cool! What great kids!”…(and parents and coaches too). If you don’t see a photo that you’ve submitted in this post, keep checking back. We’ll be doing more in this series.
I had my own “proud mom” moment recently with my 14 year old son. After a tough game, all the players were leaving the dugout with their gear, heading toward their waiting families.(Seating at this field wasn’t near the dugout, which wasn’t accessible to families.) After several minutes, Andrew still hadn’t appeared. Finally, as I was about to go find him, he came walking out, carrying a bucket of balls in one hand, bag of catcher’s gear in the other and his own gear on his back.
ME: “Good for you, Andrew! Did your coach ask you to help?”
HIM: “Nah, I just noticed that he needed a hand.”Yeah, I know that’s a little thing, but it made me proud. And Andrew liked the feeling of being appreciated by the coach…so much so, that he waits in the dugout every game now to carry equipment back to the coach’s truck.
Keep sharing those great sportsmanship moments with us! We love celebrating these just as much as the home runs, strike outs and great plays at the plate. We’ll also be doing a post on great sportsmanship in coaches. Share your proud coaching stories about the guys and gals who’ve made a positive difference in your kids’ lives.
Now, I’m going to hit “publish” and go play some ball with my kid.