My troubles started when I was twelve years old.
“Ryan, you are too small. You need to get stronger. You will never be big enough.”
These words from coaches, parents, and even children my age plagued me when I was young. However, I believe youth sports benefit children in a special way. Youth sports allow kids to experience teamwork, failure, and competition. These learnings may be important, but there is a sole hidden treasure in sports. Goals.
As goals are created, barriers form. Barriers are responsible for the negative aura of youth sports. The real reason that people may not like youth sports is that they stopped wishing their goal would come true. They quit.
My goals in youth sports developed as wishes of hope to become a professional baseball player. As I matured, I overcame boundaries.
“Ryan, you aren’t strong enough. You aren’t big enough. You aren’t good enough.”
I may not be strong and big enough and I may never be good enough to be professional. However, the experience of youth sports has allowed me to set goals
When I was young, I lived, breathed, and ate baseballs. Ever since my first Brave’s game, my love for baseball grew until one rainy day.
As my father and I pulled into the baseball parking lot, we saw through the thick sheet of rain construction vehicles tearing and chewing the crisp green grass of the outfield and the soft brown dirt of the infield. As my father returned from talking with the workers, he told me “Ryan, it looks like there will not be a baseball field for a while. My heart sank. I went home and put away my glove.
The next year, the local travel baseball team held tryouts. I decided to tryout and began to practice. When the tryout arrived, I felt rejuvenated and excited. The other boys were big and tall, but I thought my enthusiasm overcame my size. However, as I tried out for the team, I heard one of the coaches speaking.
“That boy isn’t strong enough. He isn’t big enough. He isn’t good enough.”
My hopes and dreams were crushed. All I ever loved, baseball, became a disappointment. When I returned home, my father comforted me. He told me to never lose hope of my dreams. I became determined to accomplish my goals and used the coach’s words as a sense of motivation.
Eight years and a month later, I sat in the bleachers of the National Youth Baseball Tournament championship game. At the seventh inning stretch when normally “Take me out to the Ballgame” is sung, the announcer bellowed names of kids inducted into the Youth Baseball Hall of Fame. As he began reading names, my name was called. My name was called!
“I am not strong enough. I am not big enough. I am good enough. I am in the Youth Baseball Hall of Fame.”