Today was the end of season picnic for the little league team I helped to coach. The weather cooperated, and everyone seemed to have a nice time. Several of the moms made all of the arrangements. They happened to pick one of my favorite nearby parks, we were close to the playground, the food was great, and the kids ran around and had fun.
My friend Landy, who managed the team handed out trophies, and said something about each of the kids. It was very nice, thoughtful stuff about how each had improved in some big way, how they picked their teammates up, how they made a great catch sometime, had gotten better at hitting, or how their attitude made everyone a better player.
Then they gave the coaches some great keepsakes too. There was a ball signed by all of the players, as well as a framed team picture (also signed). Some of the people made a big deal about the fact that my dad and I helped to coach even though we didn’t have kids on the team.
I have to say it was a really nice experience. The kids were all nice kids. The parents were all reasonable people, many of them pitched in, and many of them made all of the practices. It was a chance for my dad and I to try something new, and have some fun playing baseball. And I learned quite a bit watching my friend manage the team. He’s an expert motivator, and does a great job at eliciting a best effort from everyone. We practiced regardless of rain or mud, and usually had a good time.
You hear about a lot being wrong with youth sports today. Hypercompetitive coaches, micromanaging parents, kids with bad attitudes … and there really was none of that. Granted, the kids are only seven, and there’s plenty of time for these things to surface later. But you have to think that it was a well-adjusted bunch.
Lots of fun!