Cheers for Little League Coaches!

Posted June 6, 2012 by jimhigley


A tribute to youth baseball and softball coaches everywhere. And if you have a coach to pay tribute to, check out this awesome RECOGNITION PROGRAM FOR LITTLE LEAGUE COACHES brought to you by Hilton HHonors! 

I grew up with zero interest in baseball.

In retrospect I guess that was a little surprising since I was the youngest of five boys – with four older brothers who all played Little League baseball. I was the baby brother who spent countless hours sitting in the stands cheering on my brothers while I enjoyed a bag of popcorn. For me, fun was found in other things. Like building go-carts. Or exploring in the woods.

We’re all wired with our own unique set of interests, right?

So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when my first child – a boy – plopped into my life with a laser-sharp interest in anything and everything that had to do with balls. Footballs. Bouncy balls. Soccer balls. Basketballs. And – mostly – baseballs.

When he was a toddler, it was easy to gloss over my own limited abilities with the sport when we played in the backyard. Pitching a ball to a three-year-old holding a bat that looks more like a caveman stick is kind of fun. Chasing a kid who isn’t even 36″ tall around some makeshift bases that are a mere 12 feet apart is no big deal. Candidly, they’re the things parents dream of.

But, as I soon discovered, that cute little kid grew into a younger fella. And he desired more than his dad and a plastic bat and ball. He wanted a uniform. A team. He wanted trophies!

And I wanted him to have a great experience that would continue to nourish his love for the sport while teaching him valuable skills.

Thank goodness for great youth baseball programs. But mostly, than goodness for coaches.

Coaches – to me – are the men and women you share your children with as you broaden their own experiences in this world. They are an extension of you as a parent. They’re people who become a vital part of your inner circle in raising sons and daughters.

Our own experience with youth baseball programs started with my son and continued with his younger brother – spanning over 15 years. Through them, both of my sons learned:

  • Skills that far surpassed those I could have ever shared;
  • The value, joy and responsibilities of being on a team;
  • Discipline and patience;
  • Compassion;
  • And respect for authority.

Youth baseball gave both of my sons friendships that will last a lifetime. And most importantly, youth baseball was simply fun.

I recently asked my oldest son – who’s now a college graduate – about his memories of his youth baseball years.

Did he talk about his win-loss record? Stats? Nope. His answer, truthfully, didn’t surprise me.

“Coach Bird was the best,” he said with a smile as I know memories of his youth played out in his head. “That guy was amazing.”

I’d have to agree. While we had many great coaches – dedicated men and women – Coach Bird was the grand slam of coaches who gave my son memories he will cherish forever.

So cheers, Coach Bird. And thanks.

The nice folks at Hilton HHonors asked me to share this story and invite you to recognize your special Little League Coach in their HHonors Outstanding Coach Contest with great prizes including a trip to the 2012 Little League World Series. While I have been compensated to share, rest assured that my story and memories are all mine!