I’m a baseball mom. I live at the ballpark from February through July. For the last seven years, I’ve sacrificed my weekends (and sometimes sanity) to drag an unearthly amount of stuff to every ballpark imaginable so our boys can do what they love. It took me a while to forget about what else I could be doing, and learn to love this too. In learning to love being married to the ballpark, I was able to recognize this season for what it is: a lesson in life. Playing sports is a privilege that not all kids get to do. There is pure joy that comes from watching your child laugh, play, learn, and develop in mind and body. This last weekend, while melting in the bleachers, I took a look around and noticed a few things about baseball that can teach us some lessons long after the glove is put away. This is what I thought:
- Call the ball. We’ve all seen the head-clunking that happens when multiple fielders collide to catch the ball only for it to drop between them. When a player calls a ball, it means they’re taking responsibility and staying laser-focused on it. Life choices require focus and personal responsibility. If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, there’s a good chance you can miss it. When you make a life decision, call the ball. Own it, and make the catch.
- Sometimes you ride the bench. Riding the bench is hard for any athlete; they want to be in the game. Riding the bench requires humility and a willingness to be a team-supporter. Few people will ever lead all the time. Playing the role you’re given forces patience in the moment, but can also drive a hunger to work harder and earn a spot on the field.
- It’s not a solo sport. Even if you do ride the bench, you’re on the team because you have a role to play. Every position, every player is valuable on a team; there’s a purpose being served. No one person can cover nine positions, or be everywhere all the time. We have to rely on our teammates to pick up the slack we can’t. People that do it alone in life or only rely on themselves will likely be frustrated at their ineffectiveness, and will miss out on being a part of something bigger than themselves.
- Go for it. It’s been said you miss 100 percent of the shots (or swings) you don’t take. Not moving for fear of failure means you’ll watch strikes go right by you. Give yourself the chance to swing and hit it out of the park. Not every at bat will be successful, but if you don’t take your shot, you’ll never know how much you’re able to achieve.
Baseball is a tough sport at any age. It’s not easy having stands of people either cheering for your victory or wanting your defeat. The mental toughness needed to remain focused on your goal despite the peanut gallery is something that is useful in every stage of life. Sports is something our kids do, it’s not who they are; however, the lessons they learn in the process can serve them well throughout life. As parents, it’s our job to help them see the bigger picture, and remember to enjoy the game.