Rambling On About My Glory Days: Teaching the Game and So Much More
Not as thrilling as a hit in the big leagues but having a book published is exciting. In my second book coming out this week, Raising an Athlete – How to Instill Confidence, Build Skills and Inspire a Love of Sport, I write about the obvious important concepts of sportsmanship and teamwork. I believe sportsmanship or a lack of it begins at home and is manifested on the playing fields. Parents who teach fairness and respect for others at home will see sportsmanship displayed on the field. Those that don’t teach it will often see displays of unsportsmanlike conduct. The same goes for teamwork. When kids learn the value of working with others to achieve a goal, it shows up on the playing fields. Most people agree that both sportsmanship and teamwork are admirable concepts for athletes to strive for. However, sometimes the two may clash, at least at the higher levels of baseball and I thank God they did on this occasion.
I will leave out names here but they are in my book to look up sometime. Here is how it went down. Playing second base one night, I was taken out on a double play ball with a cheap, cross body block slide. The slide put me on the disabled list for quite some time. The following evening, one of my teammates who was a power hitting RBI type hitter, squared around to bunt with nobody on base. It was quite a surprise to all, until we noticed who was playing second base for the opposing team. The player who had slid into me the previous night came over to cover first on the bunt, only to be met by a forearm to the chest from our power hitting bunter. Needless to say, both benches cleared before order was restored. Anyway, it was a tremendous act of standing up for a teammate and I was very grateful.
This is a case where the concept of team and sportsmanship collided. Intentionally drilling a player is not considered good sportsmanship, but at the higher levels of ball it is sometimes necessary to stand up for teammates. This gets me to my ultimate point ” there is no place for this type behavior below the professional levels and it is important that parents and coaches understand that. Also important is that parents and coaches explain to young athletes about the difference between professional levels and youth sports. When kids see unsportsmanlike conduct on TV they may believe that is acceptable at their level and it is parents responsibility to make this distinction to their kids.
Former major leaguer Jack Perconte is the author of The Making of a Hitter (http://jackperconte.com) and has a baseball instruction site that can be found at www.baseballcoachingtips.net. He has recently published his second book Raising an Athlete – How to Instill Confidence, Build Skills and Inspire a Love of Sport