I have been trying to relate Whitney Houston’s passing to something a Little League Coach can apply to a life’s lesson. Of course there is the obvious, treasure every moment, stay away from drugs, love unconditionally as often as when we can, but all of you know I like to delve deeper into an issue than the issue typically warrants. I know, it is a horrible character flaw, but I can’t make it stop.
This one for me is fairly easy. I am on my 5th time through little league and have 22 years experience coaching kids. Every time I feel I have lost my way I look only to my oldest Justin, currently 27 years young. What Whitney teaches us is that in the big scheme of things, none of this really matters! Do you really care if your kids strikes out or hits a home run? If you do, other than how it hurts to see him/her in pain, then you should get your priorities straight.
20 years from now they won’t remember what they did. They are only learning character traits from you. What kind of kids do you want? How do you want them to act? What character are you developing in your children? Are you teaching them to cower in the face of adversity or are you teaching them that when life gets tough, the tough get going? Do you teach them that when things aren’t exactly as you like, you move on to the next best thing? Are you teaching them that dedication, loyalty, and commitment go much further in life than chasing the next great thing? Or are you teaching them that they should always be chasing greener pastures when the ones they have are actually quite ripe with successes!
Ironically, I read today a facebook post from an associate who gave great detail about her “death”. Today six years ago was the day she “died”. But she didn’t die. She was hit by a car going 45mph and didn’t even break a bone! She dedicated herself to making the world a better place. In her post, she states “Through my journey I have found myself, I’m aware of the issues that plague our society and what I as an individual and a leader can do about them. Every breath I take, I can feel”.
“Every breath I take, I can feel”. WOW! So I repeat, does it really matter if Johnny strikes out or hits a home run? Does it matter if Jane walks or scores on a squeeze? A friend of mine the other day texted me, “sorry about that, sometimes I take this stuff to seriously”. Hey, I am not saying you shouldn’t be disciplined, focused, and teaching life lessons daily in your routines. Remember though, you won’t remember if your child won or lost the game, but he/she will be forever shaped by how you react to it.
“and in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love, you make.“
- Whitney Houston Dies at 48 (popsugar.com)
- Remembering Whitney Houston With a Look Back at Her Life in Pictures (popsugar.com)
So, I am sitting in the parking lot after practice tonight and up pulls a kid in a little white car. I hear, “is that Mr. McBride”. After confirming my presence, a proud voice announces, “thought you would like to know that a DeBary Little League Alum just got an offer for a scholarship today”. Upon further investigation, I learned that the scholarship was from a quality mid-major school in South Florida and the scout had seen him play this last weekend in a tournament game.
He went on to tell me that he chose not to play high school baseball this year because he felt he had a better opportunity playing on a showcase tournament team than on a high school team. I don’t know, don’t really care either way, that is an argument for another time not fit for an article really, but more a four-hour debate at Mickey Finns.
What did I take from this interaction? First, the kid sought me out because he was PROUD of what he had accomplished. Second, the kid was only a junior! Third, he carved out his own path. He has no idea if he will accept this offer or if he will pursue other offers, but he knows whatever he does, it will be done on his terms, not on anyone else’s! We should all learn a life lesson from this young man!
Every day I hear “you have to do this to get on the high school team” or “you have to do that to get into college” or “you have to play on this team to get onto high school” or “if you don’t play on that team you don’t have a chance to do this or that or the other”. Know what they all are? EXCUSES!
Ever hear from someone who didn’t make a team? Those with egos that don’t allow them to be responsible for their own failures usually say something along the lines of “you have to be friends with him or her to get on the team” or “you have to have played on this team to be on that team”. All wrong. Hell, there are people in our league who say the only way to get on the DeBary Little League All-Star team is to play on the DeBary Dynamite, our tournament team! Nonsense! You really think that the coaches of the all-star, high school, or college team care who or where you played before? They want the nine best players they can get! Period! End of story!
Now, you don’t have to agree with their choices. That is the great armchair debate, but don’t tell me you have to play somewhere to end up on a particular team. That is nonsense! All-star coaches aren’t even paid, so you are going to tell me that a paid high school or college coach cares about anything other than your skills? Their job is on the line! You think they are not going to teach you how to play the game the way they want the game played? One thing any good coach knows is give him an athlete and he will teach him how to play the game. So pick a coach you think will teach you the most where you enjoy playing and stick with that team!
If you want to play high school, play high school. If you want to play tournaments, play tournaments. If you want to play college, figure out how to get in front of the coaches. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do, do what you want! Nobody can be responsible for you but YOU! Why be miserable somewhere else when you can have fun playing where you want to and STILL get to where you want to go!
So from now on, don’t tell me you have to take a certain path to success. Figure out where you want to go, figure out how you will get there, then execute your plan flawlessly! Don’t let others intimidate or bully you, do it YOUR WAY. As Frank Sinatra said, “I did it mmmmmyyyyyyyy wayyyyyyyyy”.
- In All Likelihood, Your Kid Is Not Going To Be The Next Tim Tebow Or Cliff Lee (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Here Are The Odds That Your Kid Becomes A Professional Athlete (Hint: They’re Small) (businessinsider.com)