I am on my second summer coaching my daughter and her teammates in fast pitch softball. Although summer is the season when the actual league and tournament games occur, there are several months of off-season practice that go into this commitment as well.
After spending so much concentrated time together, I can say with utmost certainty that I am learning as much about how to play the game as they are – because I am experiencing it all over again through the eyes of 9-, 10-, and 11-year-olds.
A sport (or really any endeavor) that involves 3/4 of the year HAS to be enjoyable for kids and adults alike in order to stick with it.
Parents tend to view the duration of their kid’s playing days as a sign of success – the longer their son or daughter competes from the time they are toddlers until the time they are young adults, the better.
For an athlete, the length of their playing days has everything to do with talent, drive, and (I’d argue most importantly) an innate love of the game. The older one becomes, the higher levels of competition they’ll inevitably face, the bigger the stage gets on which they’ll play, the harder it will be to mentally and physically stay in the game.
I’d argue then that the greatest sign of success is an athlete playing the game they love for as long as they can.
My family and I live in Nebraska in a suburb that is adjacent to Omaha, the state’s largest city. While Omaha doesn’t boast a professional baseball team, it does host the Omaha Storm Chasers – a minor league team and Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
These players who don the blue and gold jerseys are hardworking men who are pursuing their passion every time they step foot on the field. I’d imagine that game time is one of their most favorite times.
My daughter and her teammates are just starting to understand that the time you invest in practice really can pay off in games, little by little. There is no fanfare in taking batting practice or hitting off the tee indoors when it’s freezing outside. It’s rarely fun to take grounders or work on cut-off throws when the peak of summer temps are weighing you down.
I think every young athlete should be given the chance to watch an older athlete in order to dream about possibilities ahead. To remind them that hard work CAN pay off.
In order to help celebrate the franchise’s 50th season, I am looking forward to spending two nights with my daughter at the Omaha Storm Chasers’ family-friendly stadium, Werner Park. Tonight will be game 1, followed by game 2 on May 25. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than with my budding ball player.
I hope you enjoy reading about the memories we’ll be sharing together.
The Omaha Storm Chasers approached me and other mom bloggers to provide sponsored content to raise awareness of their organization. I would like to thank Marketing & Promotions Coordinator, Andrew Asbury, for giving me this opportunity.