A Tip Of The Cap

It’s July 4th weekend and there is no shortage of local issues to look at, however even the Naperville city council decided to cancel the July 3rd meeting in lieu of something other than local issues. Why shouldn’t Watchdog do the same thing.

What could better than talking about baseball, especially at the 8 to 10 year old level which happens to be the age of my two baseball-playing grandsons. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read Rob Manker’s article in the Friday July 6th edition of the Naperville Sun titled “Lessons on field can give winning, losing perspective“, I encourage you to do so. It’s not your typical article about organized youth baseball, with crying kids, idiot parents, and Mike Ditka-like wanna-be coaches, along with bad sportsmanship, and over emphasis on winning at all costs. It’s about what should be important at that age and keeping things in perspective.

St. Louis Cardinal manager Mike Matheny, wrote the book “The Matheny Manifesto” (2015) which is a great read especially for any parent or youth coach. In it he explains why he said he would only coach a team of orphans. It’s not because he doesn’t love baseball or kids, it’s because he didn’t want to deal with ‘idiot’ parents; they take the fun out of the game and add unnecessary pressure to the kids.

He was raised old-school in a small mid-west town, taught to do the right thing, not to take short-cuts, and to be selfless, humble, appreciative, respectful and disciplined.

Parents were pleading with him to coach their kids. Who wouldn’t want a major league player and manager coaching their kids. He finally relented under one condition; the parents had to agree to his style of coaching which included three main goals:

  1. Teach the boys how to play baseball the right way.
  2. Make a positive impact on them as young men.
  3. Do all this with class.

Nothing about winning, individual statistics or awards. Just simply doing it the right way.

The book gives outstanding perspective of what’s important.

What makes a dad or grandparent proud is not about his son or grandson winning, or making the All-Star team, or a game-winning hit, or striking out the side, though it happens, it’s about:

  • tipping the cap to another player after that player makes an outstanding play in the field
  • shaking the umpire’s hand and thanking them for officiating the game
  • shaking hands with the other team’s players after the game
  • encouraging a teammate after an error
  • thanking fans for coming to the game

I know this because I am the proud dad of a coach and proud grand-dad to two players.

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