Play for the fun of it

The past few weeks I have ventured out to BNA Bank Park to snap a few photos of our future stars of the diamond for our paper. For the most part, it appears that the kids are having a good time playing the game. I trust that our adults are allowing the kids to have fun too.

Sometimes as parents and adults we forget to have fun and want to be more concerned with winning. Athletics does teach valuable lessons about life for sure and I have mentioned that in the past here. All of us that are adults need to remember that the focus should be on the kids and not our sometimes self-seeking motives. We don’t need to try to live our dream through our kids, we need to let them live their own lives.

I have participated in our park and rec programs as a player, a coach, and as an official. The easiest thing to do was to be a player, not because I was that good, but because it was just plain easier. Coaching was be the next easiest thing, but it was demanding because you are thinking and playing strategy with your team. Another thing about coaching, you have some players that may have only you as a mentor or father-figure. I didn’t always live up to the level that I needed to attain that. As a coach, you also need to be teaching and encouraging, you may be the difference from this child staying with sports or looking for an alternative to spend their days. Some alternatives are not good.

The most difficult thing that I ever attempted was when I officiated various sports. Everything happens in a blink of an eye it seems. I found a new appreciation for any person that does this on a regular basis. Even though it was enjoyable, you absolutely have to be zeroed in on every pitch, every play, and every pass no matter the sport. That was difficult for me as I am sometimes prone to a somewhat senior moment or a brief vacation of the mind.

I say all this just to stress the following, our kids are just that, they are kids. They will make mistakes, we made mistakes and will continue to make them as long as we live. Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs in his major league career in baseball. Did you know that Babe struck out 1,330 times? Neither did I, don’t dwell on the negatives, encourage and teach the positives.

Coaching is like parenting, you have to let the kids take their turn at bat and in the field. Hopefully they will be grounded in sound principles and perform well most of the time. Officiating is like that split second decision that you may have to make at work or in your family life. You are not going to make the right call every time, but you can strive for it.

Remember we are called to be servants, find someone that you can minister to in love and humility. And have fun with your family, enjoying the moments of your children in their youth.

About Dennis Clayton

I cover high school sports in Union County and occasionally contribute sports articles to sister community newspapers of Journal Inc. I have lived in Union County my entire life and strive to use my articles to promote our players, teams and schools. Follow me on Twitter: @denclayton for scores and updates on our local high school teams.