Everything I Know I Learned Playing Little League (well almost everything…)


My time spent playing Little League baseball each summer when I was growing up taught me many of life’s valuable lessons.

Were it not for the time I spent on that dirt field in my tiny hometown, I might not be who I am today.

OK, that’s not true. Let’s be realistic here. I’m sure if I had never played baseball, my life right now would not be significantly different.

But, that doesn’t mean there weren’t valuable lessons to be learned from my time spent playing on the Braves and the Gyrafalcons (yes, Gyrafalcons—pronounced with a soft “g” like geriatric).

Since I have never actually known what a gyrafalcon is, I just Googled it—it’s the largest falcon species. And its name is spelled g-y-r-f-a-l-c-o-n. There’s no “a” after the “r”.

But our team name was definitely the Gyrafalcons. I know this because it was mispronounced all the time. Gy-ro-falcons. Gyrafalcons with the hard “g” sound as in gopher. And every other mispronunciation possible.

So, our coach—a falcon enthusiast and trainer who had birds of his own—had the name wrong. Oh well. We’ll just attribute his error to the fact that Google was still over two decades away.

Later on (after I became a Brave) the name was shortened to just Falcons, which I’m sure everyone thought was an improvement.

How did we get information before Google, anyway?

Enough digression…Here’s what I learned from playing Little League (in no particular order)…


  1. The value of working as a team.  This one doesn’t need much explanation, as everyone knows the importance of contributing to your team and becoming a valuable member. Whether it’s at work, at church, on a committee, or—of course—a sports team, life works better when we all get along and work together. Yes, I’m still learning this lesson, and I have a long way to go.

  2. Never give up.  One summer, the Braves had not won a game all season long. It was pretty demoralizing, especially for a bunch of preteen boys. Then one night we played the best team in the league (the Astros I think). Before the game, we had no delusions that we could win, but somehow we walloped them. We scored run after run and they scored none, or maybe only one or two. The final score was something like 28-1. It was incredible. I’m not sure we won another game the rest of the season.

  3. It’s not whether you win or lose—it’s how you play the game.  Yes, this is old and corny, and many people argue with the philosophy of the saying. Our coaches taught us to play hard and play fair—just like they should have. To a kid, it really is all about just having fun. Even though we might lose by 10 runs, it was all good. The sounds, the smells, the feeling of strutting around the ballfield in your uniform and looking at the stands full of people who came to watch you play. It was great. And, of course, we didn’t know any better.

  4. Learn to be flexible.  First base was the first position I remember playing in Little League (I played shortstop some in T-ball). It was my thing and I loved it. But at some point our team lost our pitcher. So, somehow I became our starting pitcher. I didn’t like pitching very much and I wasn’t very good. I knew it and so did everybody else. But I persevered through the process and learned to go with the flow.

  5. Your beginning doesn’t determine your end. Early in my baseball playing days I smacked the ball and ran as hard as I could to base—third base. I don’t remember what happened next, but I did know I was well aware I had messed up somehow. Long story short, I learned that you always run to first base after hitting the ball. My baseball game on improved from there.

  6. Listen to those who know more than you do. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that a Little League coach knows more about baseball than a 10-year-old. But the 10-year-old doesn’t necessarily see it that way. Seek out and heed advice from people who have been where you want to go. Don’t be the stubborn kid trying to field a ground ball with only one hand. Listen to the coach telling you to use two hands so the ball doesn’t go through your legs. Save the hot shot moves for when you reach the Big League.

  7. Put in the hard work even when you don’t want to. I loved playing baseball games, but not so much having the practices. It was boring waiting your turn to bat and field balls. Plus, I remember getting soooo thirsty out on that dusty field on scorching summer days. But all that was necessary if I wanted to experience the action and excitement of going up against another team.

There you have it—life lessons instilled in me through wonderful childhood summers spent playing Little League.

What life truths did you learn in childhood that you still hold on to?


The Lasting Way to Deal With Life’s Difficulties

Maybe you’re like me and really dislike dealing with the many struggles of everyday life.

No matter how tired I become of them, these struggles continue relentlessly, however.

I wish life were simpler and easier to take. So many mornings I force myself to get out of bed, only to realize I have to face another day of drudgery. I stumble into the shower to freshen up, hopeful I can get energized enough to face the day. Surely there’s more to life than this, isn’t there?

You’ve probably been there yourself. Just wondered why you’re here on this earth and what the meaning of it all is.

I’ve felt stuck, trapped, useless, like there’s no point in going on. I gotten mad at life and mad at God for putting me here on this earth with no real purpose in doing so. Or maybe I do have a purpose — just to suffer until one day I don’t wake up or until Jesus comes back.

Not a very pretty picture, is it? Have you ever felt this way? Maybe 100 times? 1000 times?

So, what’s the answer?

There are many approaches you could take if you’re at this kind of place in your life — philosophical, practical, positive, negative, Christian, atheistic.

The best way I could advise anyone (myself included) on how to deal with these sometimes overwhelming thoughts is simply to trust.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding (Prov. 3:5).

Trust that there’s a God. That He’s big and He loves you. That He’s got your back and He wants the best for you.

As far as I can tell, this is really all we’ve got. There’s nothing else much certain in this world (except death and taxes as they say).

I’ve returned to the above verse countless times in my adult life. Sometimes I completely forget about it. At other times I recall it to mind, but I quickly dismiss it.

At those times I think, If God were really trustworthy and really cared about me, I wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place.  

Deep down I think these kinds of thoughts originate from the dark side, planted there to keep me from completely trusting God, from giving myself fully to Him and His will.

In these times I have tough choices to make. Do I listen to the Holy Spirit whispering truth in my ear? Or do I let my flesh take over, allowing myself to wallow in self-pity and even self-loathing.

I’ve learned over the years that this critical point is where everything can turn — either for good or for bad.

Trust God and feel better. Or give in to doubt, fear, and uncertainty. My rebellious nature loves to just say, Forget it. I’m not trying any longer.


But that doesn’t get me anywhere, especially not in the long run. The result is what much of my life has looked like — a very long cycle of earnestly drawing close to God, then bouncing away from him in rebellion, very similar to how the like poles of two magnets repel each other when they get close.

The point of all this? Only to say that as I’ve matured into a full-blown middle-aged adult, I’m finally coming to some realization that it’s time to stop all that sort of nonsense and just embrace God. Every day. All the time. On good days and bad. When things are going how I want them to, and especially when they’re not.  

I have to make the choice to trust God and His goodness — over and over, day after day.

Fitness professional Gail Pyne hits the nail on the head,

Whenever I have made a substantive lasting change to my life, it has always been due to a decision that I have made, not because someone told me to do something differently. The choice to change (and it IS a choice) must come from within.

Have I arrived? Certainly not. Will I keep trying, even when I want to quit? I hope so.

Do you have thoughts or reactions you’d like to share?



Photo by Olga DeLawrence on Unsplash