Philadelphia, desperate as always for a championship, rallied around its Taney Dragons last week as they participated in the Little League World Series. Although the Dragons were eliminated, their meteoric trajectory illuminated the important role that Little League Baseball and Softball plays in America. Here are four reasons Little League matters.
1. Little League trains young people to be part of a team. Instead of heads buried in IPhones, Little Leaguers pile out of the dugout when a teammate hits a homerun, they learn to hit the cutoff person, and they learn to rely on their teammates to turn a 6-4-3 double play.*
2. As part of a team, Little League teaches kids to value team members with varied skill and skill levels. I’m still in awe of catchers’ willingness to squat as a target for a 75 mph projectile. They were glad to have me in right field in a league with few left handed hitters.
3. Little League is 100% operated by volunteers, who have jobs, families and other kids who compete for their time and attention. In my practice, I meet with at least one Little League mom or dad every week. Their selflessness for the benefit of kids and baseball is beyond admirable. Thank you for all that you do.
4. Little League brings disparate adults together for the benefit of their kids. Have you met all of the moms and/or dads on your child’s Little League team? Do you enjoy an adult beverage in the stands with them? If you’re “too busy to network,” have you considered that the software designer, finish carpenter and pharmaceutical executive that you met last weekend all have networks into which you tap? Find them on LinkedIn and shoot them a message to connect. As soccer & football season starts, think about getting to know the fellow parents on the teams on which your kids play. You never know who you’ll meet.
*In a 6-4-3 double play, the shortstop (6) fields the ball hit by the batter, flips it to the second baseman (4) to make an out at 2nd base, who in turn throws it to the first baseman (3) to make an out before the batter reaches first base.