June 18th, 2020
When I was in 4th grade, I played Little League.

Baseball was my favorite sport - but I was horrible at it.

I was unathletic, weak, and scared of the ball. When I went to the plate, I wouldn't even swing - I would just pray that I would get walked.

If I remember correctly, Little League has a thing called Mandatory Play - which prevents kids like me from getting benched all game.

Within these rules, I only got to bat once per game, rather than 4-5 times like other players. As far as defense, I was benched most innings, too.

My coach at the time was very competitive, so it was in his best interest to prevent me from playing as much as possible - and rightly so, I sucked.

But, how could I get better if I could never play?

This is where my dad comes in.

He started taking me to the batting cages after work/school, and we practiced a lot on my game.

He taught me how to actually hit the ball. We worked on fundamentals. He showed me how to not be scared of the ball.

After months, I actually started to get better!

But still, my coach wouldn't play me.

Even though I was getting better, I wasn't getting enough exposure in real games to improve.

But then, all of a sudden, towards the end of the season, I started getting more at-bats - the coach started putting me in.

I didn't know this until years later, but apparently my dad actually confronted the coach about it, and behind the scenes got in his face about it. He had to do this every game until the coach finally relented.

When I got more playing time, I started to gain confidence. I still wasn't getting hits, but I started making solid contact with the ball.

In the last game of the season, in my last at-bat, I got a huge hit into right field. My first hit of the season. Everyone was going crazy - the parents, my teammates, and especially the coach.

After this game, we went to the playoffs. In the playoffs, there was no mandatory play rules, and players could be benched for 100% of the game.

But the coach put me in the regular lineup - and benched other players!

He must have known something... During those playoffs, I batted .600, and that was against some of the best pitchers in Little League.


I think about this story a lot. 

Most notably, because of the bravery of my dad - to be able to go up to the coach and force him to play me. I'm not sure if all dads would do that.

Maybe some dads would just complain about the coach not playing me, and how that was unfair. 

But no, my dad decided to do something about it. He worked his ass off to get off work early, take me to the batting cages every day, to work with me to build the skills I needed, and then he did what he needed behind the scenes to get me in the game.

This not only was the right thing to do, but it showed me that you can get what you want through action, hard work, and proving yourself, the right way.

When I'm a dad, I hope to remember this story.

I hope to remember that these things will change a child's life.