lessons learned

Lessons Learned from the Little League World Series

I absolutely love little league baseball. I grew up playing it with my dad coaching me and my brother. At this time of year, I get excited, like a kid all over again, as the Little League World Series takes place. It’s a joy to watch the kids play their hearts out while having a great time. I can still remember some of the names and storylines from years ago. As I was watching the games and reflecting on past years, I realized there are some big lessons from the Little League World Series and the kids who’ve played in it.

As a dad who now coaches little league, these lessons learned are beneficial to me in my parenting. If you are a dad, they will help you too. Here are three Little League World Series stories and the fatherhood lessons we can learn from them.

1. Character comes first.

One of the most dominant Little League World Series (LLWS) players was Danny Almonte. He was also one of the most controversial. He pitched for the Bronx Little League team in 2001 and struck out 62 of the 72 batters he faced. The problem was he was actually two years older than the rules allowed. Shortly after the tournament, this was discovered and his team had to forfeit all their games. Honesty is the best policy, and character comes first.

2. Success can come in unexpected ways.

One particular little league player made a name for himself while leading his team to the championship but later became more known for something else. Matt Cassel helped his Northridge, California team win it all in 1994 but later took a different path. He played football and was part of some pretty successful teams. The USC Trojans who won college football championships and the New England Patriots who finished 18-0 before losing in the Super Bowl. Success doesn’t look the same for everyone.

3. Sometimes the mold needs to be broken.

One of the most popular, surprising, and successful little players was one who played most recently in last year’s series. And this player didn’t fit the typical mold of an LLWS player. Her name, yes, her name is Mo’ne Davis and she completely shattered the mold of what we’ve seen from players each year. Obviously she is a girl, but that’s not only what made her special. She excelled, and it just so happened that this great little league player also happened to be a girl. She has just about every “first” for a girl in the series but has since accomplished things no little league player has done, including playing in the celebrity basketball game during the NBA All-Star Weekend. Sometimes the mold needs to be broken and our kids are the ones to do it.

4. Keep working toward your dreams.

One little league player didn’t necessarily stand out during his opportunity to play in the LLWS, but that was just the beginning. He kept at it and kept working toward his dreams. Jason Varitek only got one hit when he played in the 1984 series, but he is one of only two players to play in the LLWS, College World Series Championship, and the Major League Baseball World Series. His resume includes being a two-time MLB World Series champ and catching multiple no-hitters. When we keep working toward our dreams, they just may come true. [Tweet This]

Watching the LLWS can be fun for you and your kids, and it may also provide some teachable moments for you to share.

Sound Off

What are some big lessons you learn from Little League sports or other activities you were involved in as a kid?

Jackie Bledsoe

Jackie Bledsoe is an author, blogger, and speaker, but first and foremost a husband and father of three, who helps men better lead and love the ones who matter most.

  • Sports has a large place in my heart because it can be used to teach kids so much about life, but baseball has a larger spot. One of my responsibilities as an official for the sport is mentor and lead kids on the field besides call balls and strikes. I’ve been officiating the game ranging from 13 year olds to high school for the last couple years and I’ve seen positive and negative influences by parents and coaches. I’ve noticed that sometimes officials can have a large impact on a kids character by their action and words. Working with kids from behind the plate has been rewarding. Sports is a great way to build character in our young future leaders. Sometimes it is the one person on the field that gets the most criticism and the way they carry themselves in those situations stays with a little person.

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Huddle up with your kids and say, “I bet it’ll be fun for us to watch a few games of the Little League World Series together!”

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