There's No Crying in Baseball  

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Anybody who has seen the movie A League of Their Own remembers that famous line delivered by coach Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) to right fielder Evelyn Gardner (Bitty Schram).. Jimmy basically screamed at her until she was in tears and then he tried to explain to her that there is no crying in baseball....It was a funny line and absolutely added to the character of Jimmy Dugan.

I tend to think it's more than just a line from a movie though. There is no crying in baseball. It's a very competitive game, and we play to win. That doesn't mean if we lose that the world ends. I have coached young kids for close to 20 years in this sport and it never fails to amaze me how many don't think about crying when they lose until........the parents get involved.

Note to parents...If I'm your child's coach stay off my ball field. I will teach your child the fundamentals of the game. I will also teach them that it's important to leave it all on the field. We don't half ass it around my ball field. It's all or nothing. That whole 110% is crap, I used to get more arguments from kids about that then anything else. "How can I give more than 100% coach? It's impossible." They are right, and it takes far too much energy to explain to them what I mean by 110%. As an adult we undestand that it means to give that little extra that makes the difference. What we fail to understand as adults is that 100% is what's required. ALL!

So now that I rambled about 110% for too long, let me get back to the point. Kids learn that it's ok to whine, cry and complain when things don't go their way from the people that most influence their young lives. Guess what that person is not ME!
It is the parent, sibling, friends, and family. It's absolutely counter-productive.
Crying about losing doesn't fix it. Whining about the bad call doesn't fix it. Never leave the game in the hands of the umpire. That is something my High School coach told me and it has stuck all these years. I have tried for many years to explain that philosophy to my kids (that I coach).

If you are thinking of putting your child in sports then please please please remember this. They have to learn how to handle defeat as well as success. Perseverance is key in almost every aspect of our lives, and we learn so much of that from the young years involved in something as simple as Little League, or Soccer, or Football. So many people like to villify youth sports, and to some degree I understand where they are coming from. More often than not many people forget that along with teaching the child how to play a sport that they can enjoy for many years to come, I am also teaching them a little bit about the real world. I get the opportunity to teach them that working together for a common goal is a great thing. Communication, compassion, and sportsmanship are all great qualities to instill in a young person. I get to do that!!

I hope that any of you with small children will remember to let your child explore these different youth activities. Not all children are cut out for sports, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't get the chance to see if they enjoy them. You don't have to be a good ball player to have a great time on the ball field. I understand that some coaches only play to win, so parents be aware of who your coach is. Make sure that their concern is to teach the love of the game, and the qualities of a good sportsman.

The old addage "It's not if you win or lose but how you play the game." Is absolutely as important now as it was 50 years ago. Don't ever let your child forget that. A win by cheating is empty, and it will feel that way. By the same token, if you lose a game but can walk off the field knowing that you gave everything you had, you can keep your head up high and know that tomorrow will be another opportunity.

Save the crying for stubbed toes, and cut fingers. For broken bones and Weddings and Funerals. Enjoy the game you are playing. Cause win or lose, you are still playing and playing is FUN!

This entry was posted at Friday, February 19, 2010 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Can't agree more. I had a coach back in the day who was a real ball breaker. But he was also the one person that I look back on and admire for being that way. Great post, as always.

February 19, 2010 at 11:23 AM

You SO get it!

February 19, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Sportsmanship is a lesson that needs to be taught for certain and is often times not being taught in schools and sports fields. I am not surprised by your enthusiasm or your intergrity, it makes me proud.

February 19, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Amen! My son coaches basketball and baseball. He would totally agree with everything you said. You are a credit to the coaching world. I wish all coaches had your philosophy about sports.

February 19, 2010 at 12:30 PM

I had a friend who had a father who played minor league baseball, but never made it to the majors. My friend's father piled all of his expectations onto his son to succeed in baseball and pressured his son to no end....

My friend wasn't as much worried about losing the game, as he was about disappointing his father.... Anyway, he was completely inconsolable after every loss.... It was very sad....

February 19, 2010 at 1:01 PM

ASBLACKASOBAMA....that is exactly the type of thing I'm talking about. So many adults try to relive their childhood through their kids, and don't even realize that they are stealing it....High expectations because of the parents failure to follow through on their own dream..sad indeed...

Ian...those are the coaches I look back on with a level of respect not easily matched.

Ms. Anthropy & Lisa Marie...Thank you...I am indeed enthusiastic and I hope I get it... Integrity isn't that what it's about...

Rae...Sounds like your son has the right philosophy too...You make sure and tell him that there are others out here trying to send that same positive message...

February 19, 2010 at 3:30 PM


Losing is about working harder to win the next's about getting better. I'm sure a lot of those kids look up to you and will remember you and your wise teaching later on!

February 19, 2010 at 4:11 PM

That type of interfering parent is annoying. I agree -- stay off the field!

February 19, 2010 at 6:56 PM

this reminded me of a parent my very first year that I was the head coach....I will have to post that little story sometime...It was quite an adventure for an almost 22 year old coaching a bunch of kids only 10 years younger...

February 19, 2010 at 10:33 PM

Really good post, Bendigo. I admire your philosophy of teaching. I think you're great!

February 20, 2010 at 1:46 AM

Thank you Tina :)

February 20, 2010 at 10:52 AM

VERY well said. I do not have kids, but I hope that if I do I teach them this snippet of wisdom. In every aspect of their lives, I hope they choose this philosophy because many other life lessons are intertwined in it as well.

Thank you Bendigo, for a lovely and thought-provoking post.

February 20, 2010 at 2:39 PM

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