Updated: Apr 24
Today I spoke with the parents of one of the baseball teams that frequent D-BAT Asheville, where I was the Resident Sports Psychologist for seven years.
I was asked to speak with the parents on "Parents' Night."
I spoke to them about parenting and the "10 rules of the game for parents." I talked about attitude and focus, visualizing success in your mind and the importance of positive encouragement, getting them to practice on time, letting kids take responsibility for things like their schedule and their own equipment. How not to be "that" parent in the stands on game day.
We discussed the mental aspects of the game and how to help and support your boy or girl in sports and why sports is one of the best ways to learn Motivation, Confidence and Character.
We talked about listening not lecturing!
Then I told the parents a story and I thought I'd share that story with you today:
A child came home, bubbling over with enthusiasm, and said, "I played baseball today, Dad! I played baseball and we won!"
"Tell me about it son how did you do? Did you get a hit? Did you catch a fly ball?"
"Well sort of, I mean, well, I did hit the ball but they threw me out at first and I sort of struck out a couple of times but I did get on first with a walk!"
"It was the bottom of the ninth inning and we were behind by a run. Billy was on second and Johnny was at bat. Oh boy, Johnny was our last chance! And, Dad, Johnny is our best player!"
"Dad, Johnny hit a home run! Unbelievable! I ran the bases. It was so excited. And as I came home the whole team was gathered around Home plate. I stomped both feet on the plate and they all cheered and Johnny came up to me, Dad. We high-fived and low-fived and Johnny knocked my cap off grinning and said 'Kid, you scored the winning run!' "
"The coach put both his hands on my shoulder looked me straight in the eye and said, 'Good job' when he gave me the game ball."
"Wow I'm, I'm so happy for you. What a great day today!"
"Well, umm, Dad, I mean, not really today, I guess sort of? But ..."
"But what," the father was confused? “What do you mean, 'sort of'? You mean it wasn't today? Was it last week’s game perhaps? Or, or this season or was it last season? I'm confused," as the father faded away.
"Well,” that son said, alone now looking out the window. You see, I'm 79 years old now, and I remember that day like it was yesterday! I still carry those fond moments deep in my heart today," the old man mused, rubbing the weathered "game ball."
"I learned a lot from baseball and, no, I didn't play in the majors. I didn’t even make the high school team. But I've made some great plays in life. I've hit some home runs. I've run the bases of life and, though they're no longer with me, I still cherish every moment of Mom’s encouragement and Dad playing catch with me in the backyard. I loved my baseball team.”
"You see I played the game! I took BASEBALL with me every step of the way in life, and I won,”
Author’s Note: True story? Naw, just a old man's rambling. But let's not forget - Win or lose, BASEBALL builds character and the foundation for winning in life. So, hey - "Play Ball!"
Take a kid to a baseball game. Remember, you don’t age in the bleachers. I'd like to hear your story about what baseball/sports means to YOU? Take the time to comment below.
Dr. Tom, Sports Psychologist
"Get your head in the game!"
*photo by my Dad