The Keepers of the Sandlot closes with a chapter called, "The Ride Home". My dear friend and long time coach, administrator, and athletic director Dick Kramer told me a story of a friend that reminded him one day that, "every message you send is received". They all get there.
The Ride Home encourages you to take heart and realize this simple phrase carries a huge message itself:
What message are you sending?".
One day my son Drew says, "You were pretty good on the ride home, most of the time"
"Most of the time???!!!" I exclaimed, "MOST of the time? What are you talking about?"
"Well, as good as it was, there were lots of times where the 'awkward silence' was almost too much to take". Every message...
Coach Enos Semore, my college coach at Oklahoma, (who is in the College Baseball Hall of Fame) says it better than I have ever heard it said, "Tell your coaches and parents that they are a greater influence than they will ever realize. You just cannot imagine what your actions and words will mean for a very long time. If you can get them to understand the impact these words and actions will have on a kid (either good or bad) you will have done a great thing".
Former Kansas City Royal All-Star and current hitting coach for the Atlanta Braves, Kevin Seitzer said to me one day, "Tell your coaches to never be the one who makes a kid give up the game." How's that for a great message?
There are two sent messages I wish I could take back in my whole coaching career with my kids. Of course, there were many times I was a nut, but these 2 still hurt me. I can't take them back. One was with Will when he was pitching one day and one was with his best friend Jack who was also pitching. In both cases, with sincere apologies and wonderfully forgiving boys, we got through it.
Isn't it amazing that you can do many things right and ONE mistake can ruin everything? Talk about a life lesson from little league.
I only say this to help you think and respond to rough situations instead of reacting regretfully. If you are getting ready to explode...leave. Go home. Ask someone to take over. Send the message you need some help. We all need help. Someone will help.
You have to be calm.
Yelling is usually a bad message.
Silence may be worse.
Body language counts.
Cheering is a great message.
Encouragement is motivating and medicinal
Criticism is extremely difficult to handle and overcome for a kid.
Parenting and coaching is tough
Parenting and coaching is the greatest thing you will ever do.
On the Ride Home, tell your kid how much you love them, that you are glad they are your kid and you loved watching them play.
That message will certainly be received.
Every message you send is received.
You can do it, You are a Keeper of the Sandlot.
You get the message?