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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Little League Commandments

Both my boys love to play them some baseball and have since they were each old enough to swing a bat so I have spent my fair share of time at the baseball fields for the past nine years, currently attending a minimum of four games per week. And while I do love to watch them swing those bats and steal those bases, it can be downright gut-wrenching and anxiety-ridden at times. 

When one of my boys steps up to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs, I might as well be up there myself.  My heart starts pounding, I'm sitting on the edge of my chair, biting my nails, wringing my hands, and chanting a silent prayer that he will not strike out.  Please Lord, don't let him strike out. Not this time...not this time. 

To see one of them strike out or make an error in the field hurts every single time but to see one of them swing hard and knock that ball into the outfield or to make a good play, makes my heart smile wide.  And I'm sure just about every parent out there feels the same way about their child.  

What gets me though...and I'm talking makes me swell with anger to my core, are the adults out there who forget that these are children playing a game.  A game that is supposed to be fun.  A game that is supposed to teach them about the importance of teamwork and how to keep their emotions from getting the best of them, whether it ends in a loss or in a win. Because we all know life will forever be filled with both. 

I've had to bite my tongue many times over the years at some of the extremely inappropriate behavior, insults, and total lack of respect and good sportsmanship I have witnessed.  And it is almost always  from the adults, not the kids, which is why I could relate so well to this sign I saw on Pinterest a couple of days ago...

The photo is a little out of focus but it reads...
He stands at the plate with his heart pounding fast.
The bases are loaded, the die has been cast.
Mom and Dad cannot help him, he stands all alone.
A hit at this moment would send his team home.
The ball meets the plate, he swings and he misses.
There's a groan from the crowd,
with some boos and some hisses.

A thoughtless voice cries,
"Strike out the bum!"
Tears fill his eyes, the game's no longer fun.
So open up your heart and give him a break,
for it's moments like this, a man you can make.
Please keep this in mind when you hear someone forget,
He is just a little boy, and not a man yet.

I absolutely love that and think it needs to be posted at every Little League field in existence.  I, in fact, love it so much it has inspired me to write the following...

The 10 Commandments of Little League

1. Thou shalt not yell or speak insults and words of disappointment at or about any player on the field.

2. Thou shalt not threaten, argue with, or shout at the umpire.

3. Thou shalt not smack any child on the back of the head even if he is wearing a helmet.

4. Thou shalt not forget that the coaches are volunteers and are therefore not receiving paychecks.

5. Thou shalt not forget that the players are children having fun, not paid professional athletes.

6. Thou shalt not brag incessantly to all the other parents/fans about what a perfectly awesome athlete and scholar his/her child is.  

7. Thou shalt not stand directly in front of others so that they can no longer see the game.  

8. Remember this wise quote by Willie Mays, "Youngsters of Little League can survive undercoaching a lot better than overcoaching."

9. Honor thy players with a positive attitude and words of encouragement, no matter what. Always.  

10. Thou shalt not ever forget that no game is worth losing ones dignity and graciousness over.  Ever.  

Play Ball!  
Devin, age three and a half (2003)
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  1. I love this! I've seen that sign on Pinterest too and i agree should be on every ball field!

  2. Absolutely should be on every field.

    Mine plays Church league so it isnt quite as competetive or unruly as rec league. Some folks still forget.

    I didnt see a rule about bopping a parent on the back of the head.

  3. I saw the sign on Facebook and I love it as well as your commandments. I have told off a coach and a few parents in my days as a sports mom. It's ridiculous! They act like it's a pro game with millions riding on the outcome.

  4. Every. Field.

    Tony was Youngest's assistant coach this year for basketball. They has a special needs child on their team, and while he tried, he just didn't quite get it. But he was there, and played, just as much as the other kids.

    One night, one of the parents on the sidelines started mocking him, and yelling to pull him out. Really? He's flippin' 10 years old.


  5. This should be on every field. It's so important!

  6. The sign and your commandments are great! I never played sports as a child, but my brother did. I couldn't understand why parents would get so crazy over ever little thing. It's just a game. And they're just kids. The pressure of having to deal with all the spectators was part of why I refused to play any sport.

  7. I need a set of 10 commandments for basketball. I will move away from rude parents yelling at referees. It makes me so mad.

    Some coaches are the worst. We played a team that was so horrible to our girls that we decided my 3 would not play this team, again. After we made this family decision, our school decided that we would not play this particular team, again. My daughter was elbowed in the face intentionally and had the get 7 stitches in the first period against the other team. No foul was called.

    I don't get all hot and bothered at games, but this was one time it was a good thing I wasn't there! Theres no telling how I would have reacted.

  8. Absolutely, they are little kids. I remember keeping score once at tball and the kids were supposed to come up and tell me the number on their shirt to record how they did at bats. One little guy came up and when I asked him his number, he rattled off his telephone number. Adorable!

  9. AMEN!

    We lucked out and have family for half of our t-ball team this year (including Coach!) But the rules SO apply when we play other teams. Sad when kids lose enjoyment because of adults.

    Have a great season!

  10. A much-needed reminder! I saw this on Pinterest as well. WE don't play baseball here..luckily basketball and football are only one game a week always on Saturday, although the practice schedule for football is a little much!

  11. Hi! I am visiting from the Spring Fling over at Sits! I first have to say how just completely adorable this is! I am not yet a mom but none the less I found this simply precious! I can't wait to read more! Happy Blogging and best wishes!