My last season I learned more about baseball, it is more than just a sport. I believe that I should treat people the way I want to be treated. I know that positive treatment is better than negative treatment. I have always lived by this philosophy, but this is when it truly stood out to me.
When I was twelve it was my last season playing in Little League for baseball. Throughout my years on the team there was always great sportsmanship and quite a few teammates who followed the same philosophy I live by. I remembered how I felt when it was my first year. I had nerves and worried about how I would do and contemplated how that would affect my relationship and playing time with my teammates. So. when we had about eight new team members drafted my last year, my first thought was “they are young and inexperienced in this league, they are going to make mistakes and that is ok, all I can do is help them move on from those mistakes and strive to improve in their game.”
The first week of practice confirmed my thoughts, the team was very young, and inexperienced but hardworking. They had a lot to learn but most were enthusiastic about the upcoming season. In this Little League level, I would have around 2-3 games a week and the alternate days were for practices, so we spent a lot of time together as a team. During this time, we started to get used to each other and began to work well together. I did what I would always do and give props when props were due and if someone was struggling I would tell them not to worry and focus on the next play. One of the more inexperienced players mother approached my mother and said, “Joey said Jack does not get mad and gives them pep-talks.”. More importantly she told my mother, “the kids on the team are grateful that Jack is the 12-year-old on their team and they all look up to him.”
Eventually one of my coaches gave me the nickname “Governor”, because I oversaw the team and helped my teammates in a positive way especially to my new teammates. We continued the season and finished first place for the regular season and we made it to the semi-finals for the playoffs. I was really surprised how sad I was that the season was over, and I told the team I would come back next year and watch them play.
The day after we lost in the playoffs one of my coaches e-mailed my mother the following message, “Kim, I did not get the chance to see you last night. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed coaching Jack this season. I have been coaching for many years and he truly has been one of my favorite players to coach. My son Corey truly looked up to him, he was a true role model. His off the field actions do not go unrecognized. Being recognized for his academics and his constant weekly work with the challenger’s program. Great job.”
That same day another coach sent an email providing all my stats from the three years and then added, “The young kids on the team really looked up to him and he showed them the way to play the game the right way no matter what happened. Just him showing up gave the kids confidence that we could win any game. That is a lot of pressure to be placed on Jack but he always had a smile on his face and delivered when we needed him.”.
After reading these messages it had me thinking the way I treated and spoke to my teammates had a definite effect on them and clearly by reading this it influenced me. I do not always think what will I get out of treating people the way I want to be treated. It has always been the way I live, this is the first time I truly recognized it. To this day a kid named Luke who is one of my closest friend’s brother and teammate always seems excited when I see him. My actions and words can affect people’s lives, and when I impact someone’s life I make sure it is in the best way possible.