Life’s Greatest Teacher

By: Anonymous

Baseball is one of my true loves. From the time I was four years old, I have been involved with baseball in one way or another. I played from that age up until now in adult and rec leagues.  Even after high school, I knew I was not quite good enough to play effectively at the collegiate level, so I got into coaching. I have been coaching high school baseball for 15 years now.

Coaching has become one of my true passions. Some games, I get so pumped up, I feel like I’m actually playing in it.  Baseball is truly a great game.  In this fast-paced world, we live in, people easily become bored with it. But if you take the time to sit back and lose yourself in a baseball game, especially in person, you will see how truly great it is.

When I was younger, both as a player and coach, the game consumed me.  If we won, the feeling of joy stayed with me the rest of the night.  If we lost, it stayed with me until we won the next game.  The older I have gotten the less consumed I am by winning and losing.  It just doesn’t stay with me as much anymore. I realize that it doesn’t change me in any way, for better or worse. Don’t get me wrong, I am still competitive. I still want to win. I still want my players to be the best players and people that they can be.  However, when you look at your life, the good and the bad, does it really matter if you win the game?

Unfortunately, to a lot of the parents, it does.  Every year, I contemplate resigning from coaching the game I love. Not because I no longer love the game or teaching kids, but because of the parents.  Sadly, they make it almost unbearable.  It’s not just baseball.  I see it in all the sports that go on at my school. 

My school is very small.  We average 85-90 students per grade.  However, the town has a mentality that we breed world class athletes.  This is simply not the case.  For the past two years, there has been an active petition to get the head football coach fired.  Is he abusing the kids? No. Does he neglect them? Nope.  Does he drink? Do drugs? Gamble? Have inappropriate contact with a student? Not guilty on all charges.  What is his crime? For the last 2 seasons, the team has not made the playoffs.  Never mind the fact that they made it each of his previous 12 seasons. Parents have a mentality that their children are better than the others, and they can’t fathom the thought that maybe there are other players that are better. 

Now, I don’t have any children yet, so maybe I am out of line in saying this, but parents are doing their children a disservice. High schoolers by in large have the mentality that it is other people’s faults as to why they don’t get what they want. Whether it be a good grade, a spot in the starting lineup, or a state title.  Why do they have these views? Well, last week, I had a meeting with a parent about her son who is failing my class.  I came into the meeting with a full list of his tests and his work.  I wanted to come up with a plan with this parent as to what we could do to get his grade up. Her response was, “My son is very intelligent. He never gets these grades. I think you should go home and look in the mirror and ask yourself how you can be a better teacher to where your students don’t fail anymore.” Sad to say, but I was not surprised by this. I have received responses like this time and time again. Not just from the classroom, but on the field, as well.

We all want our children to succeed. We want them to be the best that they can be.  But what is the cost of always siding with them and blaming others for their shortcomings?  Failure is ok. It teaches you valuable lessons. It makes you stronger.  Without failure and loss, what do we really learn?  Working hard and striving to be better is what has made this country great. Nothing has been given to us; we had to earn it.  These are ideals that I feel are sadly leaving society today. How do we get it back? Allowing our children to fail at some things, and then using it as a method of learning.  The greatest lesson in life is often failure. Just think of the life lessons you have learned in your past. I’m willing to bet that it came from something that did not go your way. And, I’m also willing to bet that you were better for it.

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