Lessons from Little League

Little League season is here! With great joy North County kids and parents will gather around ballparks for opening day. Wearing floppy hats and baggy pants little leaguers will take the field and begin seasons they’ll remember for life.I ran into my friend Jen who told me how much she was looking forward to the upcoming season. She told me her son had his first game and she had the chance to see friends she’d not seen in a while. Little league is not only important for our kids but also for our community. The league brings families and friends together. Many kids car pool and post-game excursions for pizza are common.

My Little League experience taught me valuable life lessons of responsibility, respecting teammates and persistence. Shooting for a batting average of .300 meant getting a hit three out of every 10 times up. Little League was my introduction to the reality that in life I was more likely to fail before succeeding. I might need to send out 10 resumes to get three job interviews, or make 10 cold calls to find three prospects.

When a Little Leaguer makes a mistake you’ll often hear the phrase, “Keep your head up.”

When we made an error our coaches and teammates would try to “pick us up,” by saying the encouraging phrase. I learned that overcoming adversity in life would require I “keep my head up.”

Little League teaches us the ethics of playing between the lines. There are no short cuts to success. Victories are earned and rewards are the result of hard work. An umpire makes sure everyone plays by the same rules. If a Little Leaguer wanders into foul territory they are out of bounds.

Last year’s Encinitas National Little League team won the sectional title. In the championship game Brandon Bay hit a solo home-run saying, “This is a once in a lifetime experience.” Shortstop Micky Moniack hit a grand-slam saying, “Last time we played them I was in the same situation, two outs with the bases loaded against the same pitcher and I popped out so I was determined not to let that happen again.”

Pitchers Luke Duncan and Dylan Hadley gave up only 3 runs on five hits in the championship game. Coach John Roberts and his players had a magical season. As the character Crash Davis told “Nuke” LaLoosh in the hit baseball movie “Bull Durham,” “You’ve got to respect the streak, because they don’t come around that often.”

That’s a truism in life at age 10 or at age 40.

Little League pledge saying we might all benefit from reading it:

I trust in God
I love my country and will respect its laws
I will play fair and strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best

Good luck North County Little Leaguers, and thanks to the coaches, parents, and all the volunteers who help make the league a success for all of us. Play Ball!


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