Two little league teams met in battle one year. The season was coming to a close and as fate would have it, there were two undefeated teams remaining. This would be the game that would decide who was in first place.
The “A” Team
The first team was filled with star players, you know the kids I am talking about. All of them had played ball since they were old enough to catch. Their dads spent hundreds of hours preparing them to be baseball players and these proud dads stood by the dugout each game yelling at anyone that made a mistake and making fun of anyone on the opposing team that screwed up. As expected, their season had been a breeze. The pitcher had thrown several no hitters and their batting line up held the league’s record for the most home runs that season. This was a team that had one and only one goal in mind – the first place trophy – and their coach was a rage filled man who was driven to see his team decimate every other team in the league. Their first place rival could not have looked more opposite.
The “B” Team
The second little league team could have been a carbon copy of the infamous Bad News Bears. Only two of the team’s players had ever played baseball. Worse yet, when it came to picking teams, this one ended up getting stocked full of all the smallest kids that had tried out. Only a few dads showed up to help at their practices and games, but there were always a few moms on hand. This team’s journey to an unbeaten record looked slightly different from the first team’s.
The second team was blessed with an amazing coach. On the day of their first practice, he made it clear that he wanted the kids to have fun. “We have a lot of work to do boys and it won’t always be easy, but more than anything I need you to remember the we are here to play ball and have a ton of fun doing it,” he said. Their practices were long and challenging. They spent their preseason practices simply learning the basics of how to hit and catch. As they began to show process with the basics, their coach eased them into the ins and outs of fielding the ball.
Their practices looked like a remedial kindergarten class in shoelace tying. Their were many missed swings, balls dropped and the all too frequent collision. Yet through it all, their coach would laugh (hiding his frustration I am sure), help the kids to their feet, and then would prep them to run the play all over again. Throughout these long practices, parents shook their heads, giggled, and a few opted to simply drop their kids off and show up to pick them up a the end of practice. Unfortunately for the parents, they missed the magic.
During the first month’s preseason practices, the second team had more and more fun. They learned to laugh at themselves, jump up to their feet, and get ready for the action all over again. Fewer balls were dropped, more pitches were batted into the outfield, and the majority of the team could make that all important throw to first base with better and better accuracy.
Every game was a struggle and though they won each game, rarely was it done with more than one extra run. The team and the coach clearly understood that their vision could not sway from the game at hand. If they did, they risked everything they had worked for. Every at bat, every catch, every inning mattered. They fought their way to the last game of the season where they were pitted against the first team.
You Fill In The Rest
This game really happened. I know because I played in it and it is memory that has stuck with me to this day. I won’t say what team won (yet) because I want to know what you think. Did the first team (the gifted ball players) or the second team (the baseball wanna bes) win the game? More importantly, why did they win and what lessons are there in this story?
Please leave your predictions in the comments section below and help me get a great conversation going about this post by sharing it with your friends and followers. I will following up from this post and your comments with the conclusion to the story and a few lessons that I took away from it.