He and his teammates (representing Utah) are hoping to make it to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, home of the Little League World Series. They were successful Monday night pulling off a win over Arizona 11-1. A win tonight and Saturday night would put them on airplane to Pennsylvania.
As I was thinking about the game tonight I recalled my little league all-star experiences. I reflected on one my coaches, Randy Goldhammer. My mother told me that one day after practice he wouldn’t let the boys go home until they tracked down and successfully caught a long fly ball Coach Goldhammer hit from home plate. We lined up in the outfield and took our turns. One by one, boys caught a ball and ran to the parking lot where one of their parents waited in the car. According to my mother, I was the last boy to catch a long fly ball that afternoon. She recounts that it took several fly balls and that her patience was thinning as she watched me tiring and struggling to make a catch. When I finally did and ran to the car, she inquired if I was mad at the coach. I apparently responded, “No, I love coach Goldhammer…he is a great coach.”
I don’t remember the experience, but I do remember plenty of practices and games, many with Coach Goldhammer. He was one of many coaches who realized that so much of what happens on an athletic field and in team sports transcends the league, the tournament, and awards. But such lessons don’t always surface in the moment, or in those precious days prior to teenage years. You may recall David Belisle’s tender comments to his boys (from Rhode Island) after a tough loss in last year’s tournament. It was a kindhearted message that may resonate with those boys long after their experience in the LL World Series.
Life offers plenty of intense battles and challenges far removed from the athletic field. Perhaps I gained some tenacity, resolve, and persistence chasing down some high—long—fly balls.
Another thought came to my mind as I thought about Easton’s game this evening. Bruce Newbold, actor and author, who wrote The Baseball Box Prophecy penned a short message to our four boys on the title page of the book. I would like to share with Easton, his teammates, and all the young men in America, Mr. Newbold’s words:
Enjoy the adventure,
Dream huge, work hard,
Work the hardest,
And never stop imagining.
Following such advice will bless you far beyond the baseball field.