BY CHRIS REWERS
I do it because it is the greatest sport in the world and I wish to share my love for it. I do it because I want kids to be active and spend their free time doing something constructive. I do it because I want kids to develop character and learn how to play the game the right way. I do it because I enjoy interacting with kids. I do it because I continually learn things about the game, about psychology, about competition, about myself. I coach baseball, devoting four to six months each year without pay, simply because it is fun.
Some people golf. Some people fish. I coach baseball. What a privilege!
It is an opportunity to teach the value of teamwork and pride, to motivate an often times wide variety of kids to work together for a common good, pay attention to detail, and achieve the best possible results.
I determine the way my teams play the game and how I conduct our practices determines how they play.
It is a responsibility that I take very seriously.
My goals are to provide my players with a positive example, to develop character, and to instill in my players the principles of living decent and productive lives. I want them to learn that any achievement of significance takes hard work and that the self-satisfaction of knowing you did your best is bliss.
The life lessons of baseball are plentiful.
My players and I have learned about handling failure – losing a game, striking out, making an error, walking a batter. We have learned about handling fear – fear of choking in the clutch, fear of making a mistake, fear of being hit by a pitch. We have learned about handling frustration – the frustration of a teammate commiting an error, of a batter hitting one on the button but lining out, of a pitcher making a great pitch and then watching it sail over an outfielder’s head. We have learned about handling embarassment – getting picked off or doubled up, dropping a fly ball. We have learned handling lonleliness – playing in the field and not having aby balls hit to you. We have learned about dealing with slumps. We have learned about adjusting to change – dealing with poor weather and field conditions; with a teammate’s absence or injury. We have learned about controlling our emotions – over our excitement, over our frustration with umpires.
Through these circumstances, we develop qualities like maturity, honesty, loyalty, adaptation, compassion, self-respect, respect for authority, teamwork, sacrifice, humility, and patience.
The relationships I have built with many of my players and families are greatly cherished.
I enjoy learning what makes them tick. I draw a great deal of satisfaction from watching players mature and improve. What a feeling when one of my players exceeds my expectations and what a feeling it is whenever I realize one of my players has exceeded his own expectations!
My son, Will, hasn’t played on all of my teams and he has played for coaches other than me. When he is on my team, it is an added bonus. I try to treat him as fairly as anyone else on the team. But it sure is quality time we get to spend together and I enjoy the fact that we are working together towards a meaningful, common goal.
It’s a heck of a way to spend a summer!
AROUND THE MAJORS
The Oakland Athletics on Tuesday signed outfielder Rajai Davis (pictured right) to a one-year contract. The 36-year-old Davis led the American League with 43 stolen bases last year. He hit .249 and hit a career-high 12 home runs in 134 games with the Cleveland Indians. His two-run, two-out homer off Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the eighth tied Game 7 of the World Series before the Indians fell in 10 innings. … The Cincinnati Reds signed reliever Drew Storen to a one-year contract. The 29-year-old Storen was 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA in 57 games with Toronto and Seattle last year. … The Arizona Diamondbacks traded outfielder Peter O’Brien to the Kansas City Royals for a minor league pitcher.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Happy birthday, Kris Bryant!