In Little League, baseball is life | For the Love of the Game
July 10, 2012 · Updated 3:24 PM
For anyone who has ever played the game, there is no question about it: Little League baseball is as serious as it gets.
Travel to any of the dozens of parks that will host all-star games throughout the summer and take in some classic people watching to see what I mean.Adults lose their composure in the heat of the moment and take out their frustration on an umpire or opponent, otherwise levelheaded people undermine one another's good-faith efforts with derisive and obnoxious chants with players bearing witness to it all.
For obvious reasons, their behavior undermines the very reason youth sports exist.
But their actions also shed light on an undeniable truth: young people emulate their role models without prejudice.
For each overzealous parent or coach that crosses the line, there are ones using the game (complete with successes and failures) to teach lessons that can be applied in the classroom, boardroom or family room as well.
More importantly, the kids are following their examples, too.
Terry Taylor coaches multiple teams in Bellevue East Little League, two of them posting a combined 53-1 record. When prompted on demystifying such a successful year, Taylor didn't talk of a team laden with talent or a win-at-all-costs mentality that put the results ahead of the process. Instead, he painted a picture of teamwork, dedication to the success of the group over the individual and a consistent effort to take care of the details.
If the record of his two teams is any indication, the players have followed his example to near perfection on the field. If they are anything like their pre-teen peers, those positive habits will be carried into their experiences at home and in school. At some point, it may even be the motivation they need to make the right choice in a difficult situation.
Luckily for them, their coach knows just how important Little League is.
For the Love of the Game is a reporter column by Josh Suman. 425-453-5045 or firstname.lastname@example.org.