Note to my son’s baseball coach

Susan - Kaneohe, Hawaii
Entered on April 24, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.



I’ve been thinking a lot about kids’ baseball lately, as both Sangha and

Radhika are playing. And I’m a teacher, so I’m fascinated by coaching. I

like the coaching I’m seeing; Sangha’s skills have improved immensely,

and he’s focusing in ways I haven’t seen, except when he gets a new Lego

set. So clearly, the experience has been very valuable for him. But it

does bother me that some of the coaches seem to think the goal of

playing baseball at 10 years of age is to get to the majors, or be a

national champion, or be the very best. Not that I don’t like to see

people perform well (Ichiro slapping a hit to win the game; Pujols

scoring from third on a grounder to the pitcher; Edmonds circus catching

in the outfield, all these make me very happy),

but it seems to me that there’s more to this game than future exploits.

There’s also THIS moment to enjoy.No one has told the boys that baseball

is a beautiful sport, one that teaches you to focus, to move your body

in ways that make you and the spectator feel good, one that makes you

think better, and that baseball is an art. That’s what I would like to

hear. Enjoy the moment, live inside of it, and baseball will become

something you can enjoy the rest of your lives, no matter when or how

your “career” playing it ends. The benefits of baseball are now.

I teach students to write and read poetry. Many of them are scared to

death of it. So I have to show them how not to be scared at the same

time I teach them to make something new. Very few of them are going to

be poets or professors or anything related to my field. But I want them

to learn how to think like a poet, how to play with the world in ways

that are meaningful and enjoyable to othem and to others. So I have them

play a lot (even though I give them grades at the end . . . ). I find

that their responses tend to be very positive. So my suggestion would be

to tell the kids to _play_ more. It’s a game. It can be a very serious

one, but you get to the serious stuff by being creative.

Thanks for listening!

aloha, Susan