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A Time to Win; and a Time to Hit the Ball

A Time to Win; and a Time to Hit the Ball

 
By:  Mission Team January 19, 2021
#AmazingNation, #Encouragement, #Leadership, #Winning, #YouMatter

When I was a kid, my dad was my little league coach. I have so many good memories of playing on his team: losing one of my first teeth while waiting to bat, eating the wild strawberries that grew next to the field, and of course cartwheels in the outfield.  I also have some not so great memories; getting hit by the pitching machine when it was my turn to play catcher, or when my teammates were mean to me on the bench. I also learned the greatest lesson of my childhood, that I have not forgotten to this day.

When my older brother was still young enough to be in the league, our team was stacked. My brother and his friends on the team were very good and carried our team of otherwise misfits to win nearly every game. I saw that they were motivated on their own to do well and play as hard as they could; they found so much joy in doing well and winning! Not gonna lie, I found a lot of joy in winning the games as well.

But once these boys were too old and moved on to the next age group, our team became terrible. I was sad to see my brother and his friends leave the team, but I was more upset to see that we couldn’t seem to win a game anymore. I remember that after that year, the kids on my team were not as motivated, they weren’t the big and fast boys that my brother and his friends were. I noticed that all the teammates I had now were the kids with more disabilities than skills.

Whether they were just not the most athletic kids or had behavior issues or other physical disabilities, I noticed that our team was the only one with the ‘problem kids’. And soon I learned why: at the beginning of each season, all the coaches (all of which were dads with their own kids on their teams) would sit down and divide all the kids in our small town and choose their teams. What my dad saw was that all the dads who were there to coach really only wanted to see their kids win.

My dad clearly didn’t care to win, after all the other coaches would pick the biggest and best kids for their teams, my dad would pick up all those kids that weren’t chosen for one reason or another. Our team was made from the scraps so to say. But I honestly have never been more grateful for a baseball team of losers in my life. My dad would say to anyone who asked why he would let a kid bat until they hit the ball, not counting the strikes, “it isn’t about winning, these kids are 7, they deserve to play, and have fun. Everyone hits the ball tonight.”

I was frustrated as a kid about this, never winning, having other parents get mad at him for not ‘coaching’, but I remember seeing him steadfast in his conviction. My dad is one of the most competitive people I know. He is passionate when it matters. But he had his priorities straight. A distinction I want to make; my dad wasn’t one to give out participation trophies just for showing up, that wasn’t the lesson he was teaching. He saw the reality that the kids on his team were there to play little league baseball, not to be all-star players. For a lot of my team, I am sure my dad’s team was the only place they played a sport growing up and were able to play until they hit the ball.

The lesson I will never forget is that there was a time to win, and a time to let kids play. I am so grateful for my dad standing up to protect the childhood of his team. He wanted to provide a place for every single player in the game to hit the ball, and in little league that is all that a 7-year-old kid needs. In Ecclesiastes chapter 3, there is a passage that we have all heard before:

“There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.”
(Eccles. 3:1-8)


I never thought being on a little league team would give me a better understanding of scripture. Yet because of my coach, because of my dad, I learned that there is indeed a time to win and a time to let every kid hit the ball.

Photo Credits:
"Foxes.-68" by Paul L Dineen is licensed under CC BY 2.0
"Reese on the picnic table" by donnierayjones is licensed under CC BY 2.0
https://unsplash.com/photos/evaz1OigoQQ
"Benchwarmers" by shawnzrossi is licensed under CC BY 2.0
https://unsplash.com/photos/s_h5KOHTNCY
"Kids playing baseball" by Andrew Muller is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0



About the Author Mission TeamThe mission team is made up of writers within the HN team who serve for a time with our ministry to Awaken the World to the Power of God's Love. Through their efforts, their vision of making a world where no one suffers alone is an encouragement to many hurting people of all ages. 


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