Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Spring Means Baseball

For our family, organized sports participation began with our children when our oldest was seven. It was a late start by our local community standards, but it wasn't long before we were all in. My husband initially became more involved by "helping out" with team practices. His involvement grew year by year and a few springs later he was managing and coaching a Little League team. 

At the Little League World Series

Both of our sons have continued to play baseball most of their young lives. My husband continued to coach into our son's travel team participation. Family summer time activities were dictated by game schedules and team practices. As a homeschooling family, the baseball field is where we developed relationships with other parents in our suburban neighborhood. Family vacations even included trips to watch Little League championship games in Williamsport, PA. (A great family vacation destination, by the way.)

Many hours were spent at one field or another. Whether as parent spectator, coach or player we each enjoyed being outdoors through the spring and summer. As a family we have many wonderful baseball related memories from on and off the field.

I especially loved seeing my husband work with all of the young players. Our sons were observing his leadership first hand and up close in a context outside of our family. I am beyond proud of the integrity he demonstrated for them to emulate one day. Their relationship with each other has been enhanced because of their shared interest and participation. They will always cherish the memories of those extended moments practicing and developing skills together. 

Every family will determine their own level of involvement and their goals for "extra curricular" activities. We have seen many benefits of participating in non-academic pursuits, specifically sports. Each of our children has come away from sports participation with a realistic understanding of what it takes to excel in any endeavor.

Organization skills or how to
take care of your own equipment
has been a sports participation benefit.
  • Discipline
  • Work Ethic
  • Commitment
  • Self awareness
  • Compassion
  • Team work 

As parents, we all have high hopes for our offspring. We have seen more then our fair share of extreme commitment from parents in the hope of great lifetime success in a sport. We want to provide opportunities that weren't available to us. We are all susceptible to attempts at living unrealized dreams of our own through our children. There is a fine balance between recognizing the talents of our children and our expectations for them of utilizing those talents. Being realistic without trampling on their dreams, it is important as parents to be realistic about the possibilities of sports greatness.

Learning to play by the rules.
And respect for authority.

At every level of sports participation the numbers decrease dramatically. Many community team players never have a chance to play in high school. According to, only 7% of high school athletes (all sports) play in college and from there to professional sports the numbers are reduced even more dramatically.

Our oldest ended his participation on a team as an 18 year old, after a knee injury. College academics took precedence over an athletic come back. Our second son is still playing. As a high school senior, this is his last season as a high school player. As parents, we have made an effort to keep all of the sports participation in perspective. We are glad to have developed connections to community members that are rooted in the mutual goal of supporting our children and teaching them the values of hard work and being a team player. We have wonderful family memories of cheering and winning and losing. Our children have an appreciation and respect for competition. They also have personal understanding of the benefits of health and physical fitness. All things that they will utilize in all areas of their lives.

All gains - no matter our son's future in baseball. For the moment - we are enjoying the game!

After four years of developing team spirit and comradery,
our son's days of  high school baseball are coming to a close.

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