Earlier this afternoon I watched my 10-year-old son and his team suffer a crushing loss in the championship game of a baseball tournament in which they played their collective hearts out. We were up three runs going into the bottom of the final inning, but we couldn’t hold the lead and came up short. It was one of the greatest battles I have ever witnessed between two teams at this age level, but at the end of the day we simply did not get the job done.
By no means was this loss due to a lack of effort on any level; these kids left it all on the field for three hard-fought games today and came within an out of winning it all. It just came down to the fact that the other team’s best was better than our best today.
So as a father, what do you say to your son after he has just had his heart broken on a level far beyond anything he has ever experienced in his young life? How do you tell a kid to just “shake it off” and “you’ll get ‘em next time” when his heart aches and he is overwhelmed by his feelings? In this situation, you don’t.
With the holidays upon us, based on the amount of baseball gear that Santa will be bringing for my 9-year-old son (sorry, forgot to give a spoiler alert about the whole Santa thing), I assume that many kids will be unwrapping new sports gear over the next few weeks.
This made me think back to one of the things I saw over the past four summers coaching my son’s baseball teams – a lot of the new baseball gear that was left under the tree got opened for the first time when the team would meet for the first practice of the season. Sure, kids at that age grow fast and need new shoes and other gear replaced just about every season, but there are also the $300 baseball bats that find their way into the dugout.
Those were the things that tended to have an inverse correlation with player ability, and that made me think of all of the technology out there that gets bought for the sake of being bought, but doesn’t really get used to its full capabilities. How many times have you seen a kid playing an organized sport looking like a pro with the best gear money can buy, only to then see that the ability to execute the basics of the given sport just weren’t there? How many times have you seen expensive software or services get bought by a company but never really used?
Why is that?