Published on June 5, 2017 inParenting on LandOMoms.com
Sometimes life lessons hit me right on the head like a foul ball hailing from the sky. My son’s first t-ball season was one of those times. Some of these lessons are specific to the sport, but most are just about being decent human beings. Either way, here are some of the valuable life lessons we learned from t-ball this year.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
My son’s t-ball coach is amazing. She (SHE!) is a mom with plenty of experience keeping her teams and her family in order. One thing she focuses on at practice is the importance of teamwork. She keeps 10 tiny boys corralled, focused on goals and working toward those goals together every single week. The importance of teamwork and cooperation is definitely something I want my boy to grow up with as he matures.
Winning is Subjective
There was one game during the season during which my son did exceptionally awful. He couldn’t focus and had to hit off the tee rather than be pitched to at each of his three at-bats. But at the end of the game, his coach surprised us all by awarding him the game ball.
Shocked and a little embarrassed, I asked the coach why she rewarded him. She replied: “He obviously had a rough game, but he stayed on the field and tried his best. And he smiled the whole time! That makes him a winner to me.” And just like that, I was put in check.
Winning is subjective. Sometimes it’s about coming out the victor, and other times it’s just about getting through the game with a smile on your face.
Life is a Game of Averages
Baseball is a sport where you can hit the ball only one time out of three and still be considered a phenomenal player. That t-ball season reminded me of the lesson of perseverance: one at-bat can change everything.
I was also reminded that life’s most profound accomplishments aren’t found in single moments. Rather, the averages matter more: how you treat people over time and distance, the communities you foster and keep, the goals you work toward and the values you align with when life gets hard. That’s what really matters.
It’s Their Life
Enduring the anxiety of watching your kid take the plate, anticipating their success or failure over and over again can be heart-wrenching. In this sport, as in life, moms have no control once their player takes the field. Baseball, while a great team sport, is founded on the individual’s ability to propel the game forward. It’s their at-bat and their life, and all we can do is help them prepare for success. Then it’s time to sit back and watch.
My son has learned how to be “baseball ready,” and that lesson can easily be applied to life. I’ve always loved the game’s flow: the focus and intensity, the systematic rules of play, the impressive athleticism. Being “baseball ready” is being prepared for anything to come at you. You learn to react appropriately, to move with confidence, to trust your teammates and to be ready for anything that comes your way.
This was only his first season, but my son fell in love with t-ball. I’m excited for what future seasons hold and the new lessons he’ll learn to help him navigate his world while building an identity and a community.