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America's Pastimes are also its Future

Updated: Jul 7, 2022

The games of baseball and softball are an institution. Even though the game is called "America's Pastime", it's played around the world. Mostly in the America's though. From right here in the United States, to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and most countries in South America. Some say the game is dying, but is that really true? Game 6 of the World Series last October drew a bigger audience than game 6 of the NBA Finals this year. Also, this year the Women's College World Series had a higher audience than the Men's College World Series. I think the games are alive and well, and also prove they have no biases.

The game has always meant something different to everyone. For some, it's just a game, no more, no less. For others, it's the start of a new season. No, not just spring or summer, or even fall when the World Series is held, but a new season for our kids. When they are a year older. When they have put in another year of training, all to see how much they have improved over the last year.

You see the reason the games baseball and softball are the future is because it's a game everyone can play. Dare I even say, should play. The game teaches so much. Yes our kids can learn from anywhere, but baseball and softball I truly believe are one of the greatest sources of learning we as parents have as a tool to help our kids grow. Every year you play, you learn something different. Something you can take with you forever. It's one of the reasons it's such a beautiful game.

Photo credit: Bobbi Komma

Let's start at the beginning. Instructional baseball is where it all begins. I should know as I have coached Instructional for six years. This is where so much is learned.

First, and in my humble opinion, one of the most important aspects, is it gets the kids out of the house. It's a truly amazing form of exercise. It gets our kids to unplug from the increasingly different forms of technology, and allows them to exert some of that energy outside with other kids. It teaches using different movements. shuffling side to side, running up on a ball, or falling back. Different movements use different muscle groups, teaching better coordination. Hitting and catching the ball means creating better eye/hand coordination, timing, and patience. All things kids at a young age should learn and can use, not just as a 5 or 6 year old, but also as they grow older.

Getting over a fear is another major reason to try baseball or softball. Many times our kids are afraid. Its could be afraid of the dark, afraid of other people, and so on. Playing the game can help with fears. When first starting to play they may be afraid they won't be good. They may be afraid they can't hit the ball or catch a ball. Seeing a child get their first hit or catching their first ball, is one of the greatest joys a coach or parent can witness. You see fear melt away. Now instead of being afraid they are building confidence. That gives them the tools to conquer other fears while also building more confidence not just in sports, but in life.

Photo credit: Bobbi Komma

Instructional leagues, are designed to teach baseball and softball at a low fundamental level. Teaching the very basics of the game. Learning the bases, fielding a grounder, throwing a ball, hitting, learning the positions, but most importantly, trying to have fun. The game is meant to be fun, and that is what instructional leagues are all about. The games are not for everyone though, maybe your child just doesn't like it. That's okay. They will still have learned some lessons they can take with them moving forward and maybe even into another sport, and if not than just in life in general.

Photo credit: Bobbi Komma

Now let's say they love baseball or softball. They have improved and they have started to learn the game more in depth. Is that all that is left to learn? As I stated earlier, kids will always learn something new every year they play, but both baseball and softball are team games. Our kids learn what it means to be a good teammate. Cheering for others on the team and giving them more confidence. Learning how to embrace their role on the team no matter what position they are at. They will learn how they can help their team in any way. It gives them a role and a purpose.

Photo credit: Bobbi Komma

Another big life lesson that can be taught by the game is winning and losing. It's hard for some parents to explain winning and losing to their kids at a young age. It's a lesson that needs to be learned though, and in my experience, learning earlier rather than later can create not just healthy competition, but also a drive to be better at whatever they are striving for. Whether it's a sport, school, or something else. Winning boosts confidence, while losing can be teachable moments. We have all lost at something and in those moments you are able to teach that losing is not the end of the world. You dust yourself off and try again. Much of baseball and softball can be mirrored by life. It's why you can gain so much out of it.

Photo credit: Bobbi Komma

Baseball and softball are brotherhoods and sisterhoods. You never forget the teammates you have played with even as you grow older and some may stop playing. You always remember that year or years you played together. Sometimes you make friendships that can last a lifetime. Always keeping in touch with friends, even if they play on another team. The game gives our kids opportunities to create lasting relationships that transcend the sport. It's rare to find true friends, but the sport gives kids the opportunity to find and keep true friendships they will have forever.

The games can be played from such a young age. You can start at three years old. Maybe your kids are even good enough to play in high school and earn a scholarship to college, just because you gave them something to focus on and they became great.

Being a fan of the game has given myself and my kids something to talk about, something to watch, but most importantly, something to go outside and do. Nothing is more amazing than your kids wanting you to go outside and play, especially a game you taught them, and they want to improve at. For them it's still playing a game, while for us parents, it's getting to be a part our kids growing.

Photo credit: Bobbi Komma

Baseball and softball are the future. The lessons that can be learned, just from playing one year, can be taken and applied for a lifetime. It won't be for everyone, it never has been, but it truly is a beautiful game. Have your kids try it, maybe they just might fall in love.

Our kids are the future. Watching them grow in anything they do is wonderful, and as parents we feel as if we are giving them direction when it happens. Softball and baseball are more than just a game. They are way to connect our kids to life, social, and physical lessons. What more can we ask for from just "a game"?

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