Bear Babe Ruth: My Site News: A Message from the President of the Babe Ruth League, Inc.

A Message from the President of the Babe Ruth League, Inc.

March 6, 2006


It’s that time of year again where Spring is just around the corner. Soon the sounds of the baseball and softball diamonds will be soaring through many neighborhoods across the country. Youngsters will be taking out their bats and gloves to once again take part in America’s favorite pastime.

There are many times I’ve heard parents say that their child isn’t skilled or coordinated enough to play youth sports. Therefore, they never encourage him/her to join a team.

While all parents want their kids to be successful, most people differ on what constitutes being a success. In school, in sports and in life, each of us can be a huge success if we are working with the right definition.

Most people think success is getting an “A” on a test, coaching a championship team or hitting a homerun. When actually, success is the peace of mind that you experience when you know you’ve given your total effort to do the best of which you are capable. If we measure success only against the “best skilled”, then we are all destined to fail.

Above all, the motivating factor for most children who enter an organized youth sports program is their desire to have fun. With a supportive attitude from their parents and a fundamental understanding of the game learned from their coaches; each will come away from their baseball or softball experience with a positive feeling. In Babe Ruth League, Inc., we educate our coaches to teach the basics of the game with the primary emphasis being placed on a fun time for all.

In addition to having a fun and positive experience, all children deserve a head start on a lifetime of physical fitness to ensure a long and healthy life. As parents, we can help our kids feel less guilty about sports failures and teach them to learn to enjoy sports – even if they are not the athletically elite. All children deserve to reap the many benefits of playing youth sports such as:

Friendship - Developing a mutual respect and self esteem from being and having friends.
Self-Control – Emotional maturity allows for discipline and consistency in key activities.
Confidence – Learning to believe in yourself, while others learn to believe in you.
Alertness – Being alert is important to personal achievement because it allows us to see weakness, learn and improve.
Initiative – Helping to alleviate the fear of failure by trying your best and taking the action to make things happen.
Conditioning – Physical, emotional and personal moralities learned from making your best effort.
Sportsmanship – While every child may not ever be a superstar, they can be the team’s epitome of a good sport, which is an important role for any young athlete to play.
Teamwork – Kids learn that when a team accomplishes a goal – scoring a run, winning a game, etc., the victory goes to the entire team – it is not just attributed to individual glory.
Life Lessons – Playing youth baseball or softball teaches a child self-discipline. They learn how to work together, to sacrifice for the good of the team, to set personal goals, to enjoy winning humbly and to handle defeat gracefully.
Fun – This sums up the total experience. Knowing you have done your best and have made a difference. Creating friendships and magical memories that will last a lifetime.
As you can see, success for our kids in youth sports is reaching that goal which is a state of “peace of mind” that is a direct result of self satisfaction in knowing they gave their best effort to become the best of which they are capable. Again, not every player (in fact most players) will not be the best in the league or even the best on their team. But if they give it their best – playing and practicing with enthusiasm – they will experience a positive outcome regardless of whether they win or lose a game or how much they contributed.

Sports and perfection do not go hand in hand. In baseball, failure is the expected norm – everybody swings and misses. Even our major-league superstars walk in runs and make errors almost every game. Even Babe Ruth himself struck out at the plate a record number of times.

As parents, it is important we encourage our children to continue to try new things and to stress that perfection isn’t the “do all and end all” to success. Children need diversity and motivation to develop character traits that will help them become better doctors…or lawyers…or teachers…or plumbers…and yes, maybe even a professional baseball or softball player…especially when all of the little boy and girl games are over.

Yes, youth sports are for all kids! Don’t let your child miss out on the many positive benefits of playing youth sports. With your support and encouragement, they can enjoy one of the most thrilling aspects of childhood. In the end, your child will develop a positive self image while learning that mistakes are an important part of the overall learning process. No matter what the outcome, your child will feel like a winner!

Steven Tellefsen
Babe Ruth League, Inc.