The Baseball Lesson
Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke
by Hal Evan Caplan
December 13, 2008
My teacher loves to do many things as most tykes would. I also know that curiosity is what sometimes drives tykes to become interested in things. One day years ago, during a visit to the park, a little league baseball game was in play and my teacher sat there, outside the chain link fence, in absolute awe of what he was witnessing. It then occurred to me that this little league game was his first encounter to the sport.
At one point, my teacher just pointed through the chain link fence as one of the boys on the team just "smacked" the ball into the outfield. He was like a statue. I knew immediately he was drawn to the sport of baseball.
I asked if he wanted to play baseball and with his jaw still wide open, he nodded that he would. Luckily, T-ball season was just a few weeks away. Better yet, one of his friends was also starting his baseball career. How perfect is that? Now he would have a friend on the team. He did great that year and loved it.
Now fast forward a little over a year... My teacher had been in spring and fall ball since then. He no longer had to hit off the "T" and was even one of the top hitters on his team this past spring season. There are no official scores kept at this level, as all the players on both teams get a chance at bat each inning, but a player can get tagged out. However, as one of the coaches for my teacher's team, we did keep score. We kept it to ourselves, the coaches on our team. Based on our marks, we did win most of the games. This information wasn't really passed onto our little league players, but the coaches certainly gave the "high-fives" to each other when we won.
This year, as spring season was coming to an end, my teacher was excited to invite anyone and everyone he knew to come watch his team play. My teacher's Yia-Yia and Papou (that's grandmother and grandfather in Greek) and a friend of mine came to watch several times. My teacher admitted to me on several occasions that he loved the cheering from the crowd and playing at night under the bright lights. Even after most of the games ended, it was hard to get my teacher into the truck to go home.
After the last game of the spring season ended, he and his teammates just played tag and ran around the bases chasing each other. I knew a baseball athlete was in the making. On the way to the pizza party for the team, little did I know, I was about to learn another lesson before our arrival.
"That was a great game you had tonight." I expressed.
"Yeahhh." He replied in what sounded like a down tone.
"Don’t you think it was?" I questioned after hearing his reply.
"Yeahhh, I guess so." He replied.
"Why do you sound so bummed?" I asked.
"I'm not." He claimed.
This conversation wasn't adding up in my opinion. He even appeared to be a little nervous. Almost like he broke something but was afraid to say anything in fear of the consequences. I had to get to the bottom of this...
"Did you break something that I don’t know about?" I questioned.
"No." He responded.
"Did you hurt yourself?" I whispered.
"No." He mumbled.
"Did you accidentally hurt someone on your team while you were playing tag?" I asked.
"No." He claimed.
Okay, I was stumped. At this point, I could only do what I felt would get the answer out of him.
"I really want to know what is going on here." I demanded.
"You are going to be very mad." He responded.
Okay, here goes, I thought to myself.
"I promise that I will not get mad if you tell me what's going on with you." I assured him.
"I'm scared that you're not going to like it." He feared.
"No matter what it is, I promise I won't get mad!" I expressed.
"Okayyyyy... I'll tell you." He agreed.
He paused for a little while and finally he said it...
"Dad, I don't want to play baseball anymore." He revealed.
"Why not?" I asked in a very soft voice.
"I want to play soccer instead." He explained.
"Why didn’t you tell me earlier?" I asked.
"I wanted to wait to tell you at the end of baseball." He answered.
"You know that you are not in any trouble." I reconfirmed.
"Aren't you mad at me?" He questioned. "I wanted to wait until the season was over so then I could do something else anyway."
"I am actually very proud of you." I confirmed.
Our conversation ended just as we pulled up to the pizza place. He jumped out of my truck and ran in to join his teammates and friends.
In a nutshell, the lesson that I learned that day is: Always finish what you start.
About the Author:
Originally from Colorado; now residing in Alabama. Hal is married and has a son. Hal loves the outdoors, especially snowboarding and plays ice hockey on a weekly basis...and of course, always learns from his son.
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