A dad of one of my baseball players saw this article and sent it my way. The dad and I have known each other for some time, as I've coached and instructed his son for the past several years. In that time, the dad has heard me preach the benefits of playing sports ad nauseam. Consequently, he thought I would enjoy this article. I did enjoy the article - so much so, I wanted to share it with others.
Stay in the Game, Author Unknown
You see athletes large, small and in between. Some are gifted and know it, so they coast. Others are not and know it, so they work like crazy. A select few are gifted and work like crazy. There is a place for all of them in local youth leagues, junior high school and high school sports. There also is a place for their parents; so many places. You find them behind the wheel, in dugouts, on benches, in lawn chairs, at concession stands, and in hotel lobbies. They work ahead or work split shifts. They work into the wee hours of the night, all in an attempt to be there when the boy or girl they welcomed into the world digs in with the bases loaded or drives to the basket. Occasionally, they look in the mirror or at the bank statement and wonder, “Is it worth it? Is all this really worth it?” Here’s the good news. Yes. It is absolutely worth it.
The wins and losses fade. Trophies collect dust in the attic. Stat sheets wind up in a recyclebin. None of them matter. You realized it years later. Like the day you wake up and your youngest is graduating from college. You hear them talking about a semester-long project that involved building a city, designing the water system, infrastructure, etc., — and the mind drifts to fields here and in other cities and other states. It was a group project requiring strategy, planning, execution and, more than anything, teamwork. Sports introduced them to all of it. It teaches them that life isn’t always fair. Line drives get caught. Bloopers fall in. Referees miss calls. Players drop balls.
Deal with it. Learn from it. Move on.
Sports strengthened their resolve, toughened their skin. So when an irate boss openly voices his or her displeasure, they can tell a concerned co-worker: “It’s OK. I’ve had coaches yell at me like that.” Doesn’t mean they like it, doesn’t make it right. But they can handle it. Sports prepare them to manage success and disappointment, deal with adversity. Remember that the next time you drive six hours to a sweltering summer tournament or shiver under a blanket at a spring double header. It’s worth it.
Just be sure to occasionally take a deep breath, step back, and take a second to enjoy the moment. It doesn’t last much beyond that. Games turn to seasons and seasons to years, faster than you can say, “Do you have everything in your bag?” Squeeze what you can from the long rides, the overnight stays. You never get those back. It would be a shame to waste them listening to an iPod or dwelling on aloss.
Encourage them to succeed by allow them to fail. They learn from both but will learn even more from failure. Be there for them either way. That is what they will remember. Experience the journey with them, not through them. You had your time. This is their time now, no matter how many hours you contribute or how much money you have invested. Keep in mind, the key is not whether they make or miss the winning shot, but make sure they accept responsibility for taking it. If they can do that, they won’t shy away from much at work, in school, and in life.
Hold them accountable beyond the court and field. And remind them that playing sports is like any other privilege. I can be taken aways. And finally, continue to give them love and support, win or lose. Stay in the game. ………..It’s worth it.