“You got a beat-up glove, a homemade bat
And a brand-new pair of shoes
You know I think it’s time to give this game a ride
Just to hit the ball an’ touch ’em all a moment in the sun
It’s-a gone, and you can tell that one goodbye”
I was a little younger than my son Kingston when I can first remember hearing that John Fogerty classic, but it has stuck with me all these years. As most of you know, I love baseball. I played it for over 15 years growing up and I’m still playing a version of it (slow-pitch softball) now. But as I’ve gotten older and have kids of my own, I’ve started to get more joy out of passing on what I’ve learned to the next generation more so than playing the game itself. Don’t get me wrong, if I make a diving catch in centerfield it still pumps me up, but watching Kingston get a line-drive base hit or strike a batter out from the mound is on another level.
I’ve been talking about the need for youth sports to have a major revival in the City of Danville for a few years now, but this year I decided to stop talking about it, and start being about it. So, as I write this, I’m coaching my daughter Ava’s tee-ball team, as well as Kingston’s baseball team. Both have been a blast so far. Even if I’ve had a long day at work and I feel run down, I’m instantly uplifted by being around these young people and watching them learn the game that has meant so much to me in my life.
And that’s what I really hope to pass on to them: life lessons. Sports can be a great conduit for so many of life’s great lessons: teamwork, adversity, triumphs, and defeats, and on and on. I look forward to watching each of them learn those lessons in their own way. We will undoubtedly win some, as well as lose some, but the memories that will be forged on the field by these boys and girls will last a lifetime. I’m here for it.