Youth sports have been a joy

Published 7:08 pm Friday, May 30, 2014

Being somewhat of a sports nut, when I found out almost nine years ago that I would be the father of a son, visions of youth baseball, football and basketball immediately filled my mind.
At the time, I thought I would really relish the opportunity to coach and watch my son, Judson, play sports. We recently completed our fourth season playing baseball in Bainbridge’s leisure services program and the enjoyment that I have gotten from begin involved has surpassed my wildest dreams.
The first two years, playing T-ball, were similar to herding cats. At five and six years old, the main objective on the baseball field is to get the ball. Regardless of the position being played, every player on the field will run to the ball. Playing first base and the ball is hit to left field? Don’t worry, every player on the team will hightail it to the ball. No score is kept, nor should it be. To me, the most important thing at this age is simply being on the field and beginning to learn how baseball is played.
I was fortunate to have been able to coach my son through those two T-ball years.
For the past two years, as we moved up into the 7-8 year old league, we played more “real” baseball. Players begin to learn the rules of the game, the different positions, and how to respond in different situations. Again, I have been able to coach the team that Judson was on the past two years.
As we completed our season last week and thinking back over the last four years, I have come to the realization that I have just as much fun and get just as much out of being involved in the baseball team as the players.
The wins and losses didn’t turn out exactly how I had hoped this past year, but I don’t think that really matters.
To me, it’s just as important for players at this age to learn how to be on a team, to appreciate and support teammates, and learn the basics of baseball. Don’t get me wrong, winning is a lot fun and the ultimate goal of playing the game, but it doesn’t detract from my enjoyment.
This year my enjoyment came from Thomas, Carson, Anthony, Kevin, Judson, Luke, Marshall, Riley, Aiden, Aulden, Mason, and Layton. Thanks guys, I’m looking forward to seeing you all grow and what you all become. And thanks to my team parents, a good bunch of parents that “get” what playing youth sports is all about.
And, thanks to Joey Lee, the youth programs director, and the leisure services staff. Do we have a perfect league without opportunity for improvement? No, we don’t. But, I believe Joey is on the right track and I look forward to seeing what happens at the ballpark in the future.
We have a solid program, and with a little work, will become a great program.
Now, I am already drawing up plays getting ready for the upcoming youth football season.