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Friday, June 15, 2012

Put me in coach!!

My husband spent years coaching our boys (and many other neighbourhood kids) on the baseball diamond:

John let everybody play - took the kids that no other teams would take and showed them how to play ball and love the game. He was a model of what coaches should be: teaching, encouraging, calm and unflappable, endlessly optimistic. Some seasons we lost a lot of games, but the kids always felt like winners ("Coach, did you see my hit?" "Coach, I only pitched one over the backstop!"). And many of those kids went on to enthusiastically and successfully play baseball for years and years, in large part because John gave them a chance and taught them how to play (they still greet him as "coach" when they run into him at the grocery store).

My friend Kevin has recently joined a special baseball league, and is discovering the joy of the game as a young adult. Here are some pictures he drew of himself (and Mr. Bean and Teddy, of course!) at the ball diamond:

Teddy & Mr Bean ready to play ... drawn by Kevin 2012

Mr. Bean hitting the ball .... drawn by Kevin 2012

Kevin catching the ball .... drawn by Kevin 2012

And here's a "big picture" that Kevin and I drew together as part of our last language therapy session (teaching baseball vocabulary and concepts, so he'll have a better understanding of the patterns of the game):

 "Baseball Game" ... drawn by Kevin & Sheila (2012)

Learning how to play baseball and be part of a team sport is a happy thing for Kevin. He gets to meet new people and learn new skills in a very positive atmosphere. He looks forward to it every week. Win, win, win.

I love the leagues that share the joy of sports and games with all kids, not just those who look like they're headed for the mythical "Big Leagues". And I love the coaches who see the potential in all kids, who give them a chance and patiently teach them how to play.

So, on this Father's Day weekend, I'd like to propose a toast to all the parent coaches:

"Here's to your warm-hearted dedication to making the lives of kids a little bigger and a little brighter, one pitch, hit and catch at a time!!"

(and thanks for bringing the water bottles and the popsicles!)