Tuesday, July 7, 2009

On Little League...and Winning

Tomorrow is my son's first Triple A, or extended league game. It's not affiliated with Little League, but all of his teammates played in the same Little League division as Joey. It's a step up, competitively, from where he was during the Little League season.
Yeah, I said competitively. Here's why: baseball is a competitive sport. It's a fact - look it up if you have to. It's in the rules. It explains the scoreboards at the fields.
A lot of people say that winning isn't important. I disagree. I don't believe that winning is the most important thing at the Little League level, but it's important. At the Little League level, the most important thing is learning. These kids are playing baseball to learn the intricacies of the game; to pick up skills that help them grow as players. Why? So that they can win.
At the Little League level, fun is important. But the truth is, winning is more fun than not winning (we shouldn't say losing). It feels much better. You can play hard, and play your best and know those things in your head but your heart knows that your team scored fewer runs than they did. As coaches, we hope that the kids really hear us when we tell them that they played a great game, and nobody should hang their heads, and we're really proud of them and the way they played. But their tears tell us they didn't.
At the Little League level, winning is more important to the kids than to the coaches. Nobody in the dugout could tell you if the count is 3-2, 0-2, or 1-2; but they all know if the poor guy running the scoreboard is missing - or GOD HELP HIM, adding - a run. Even at the T-ball level, each of the kids keeps a mental score. Of course, no two tallies match. The coaches don't keep score - all the games end in a tie - but every kid leaves the game knowing who won.
Little League coaches want their teams to win. The good ones do, anyway, and here's why: when they win, they prove that we're teaching and they're learning. And that's the most important thing.

1 comment:

  1. Well said Tony. I think sometimes that kids are too sheltered these days. It's a basic fact; in games some win and some don't.