This is not Yankees related, but it is baseball and life related. These are two things that I genuinely believe go hand in hand. As a youth baseball coach, from tee ball with my kids to high school kids, with Babe Ruth and American Legion experience along the way, I make it a point to emphasize how we can learn so much from sports that apply to our daily life’s and how the big picture is so much more than between the foul lines.
Tim Tebow gets it, big time. At his press conference following his first day at minor league camp (a day in which he belted nine home runs in BP by the way) Tebow responded to a reporter’s question and nailed the answer.
Youth athletes should be playing the game for the love of it, not because they are pressured into it or because they think they’re getting a full ride to college and will play at Yankee Stadium one day. Could they? Absolutely. Should they dream big? You better believe it. But sport should be for fun and for improving as a person. But life is more than that.
Photo: Coach Lucia in action
I’ve discussed this kind of topic before and have explained how life lessons such as hard work, determination, teamwork, punctuality, humility, accepting criticism, unselfishness, overcoming tough situations and many more can be learned through sport and applied to the real world.
But what we do on the field, whether we are 12-12 or 0-12 in our last 12 at-bats, do not define us or our purpose. There is always something greater. Life has bigger callings.
I use my mistakes as an example to my players. I played just one year in college. I made a poor decision to leave school and am now 32 finishing my degree. I regret it every day. I could have had a degree at 22 and played four years but it didn’t work out that way. But by making the decisions I did, it led me to my current job and my current job coaching the youngsters I do, I see as part of my calling.
I love volunteering and love hearing how I made a difference in a player’s life, somehow or another. I don’t strive for reactions like that but I take pride in it and if I can reach one player then my job is done and I was successful that season. I feel a purpose of mine is making my players, and my kids, better people, both on and off the field.
I see players all the time beating themselves up over a strike out or an error. I did it too when I was a kid. But life is so much more than one play or at-bat. If my kid stinks at baseball but is a stud in life, being a good, caring person who is willing to help others, then I don’t care about what he does as an athlete. What he does on a field does not define him, what he does off the field and his values, morals and how he lives his life, do.
I’ve always liked Tim Tebow and he has always seen the bigger picture. He does a heck of a lot for people all over the world including The Tim Tebow Foundation’s ‘Night to Shine’ Prom for special needs students recently. He is a stand up guy.
Once you find your calling, you will know it and it will be important to you. For some it could simply be being a parent, being a teacher, being a role model, being a coach or participating in church.
For Tebow it is about being generous and spreading love. That, whether he achieves his dream of becoming a Major Leaguer or not, is true success.
BYB ‘Series’ Writer Follow me on Twitter:@DManLucia