Ahead in the Count

“I’ll get you another one.”

posted by John Bramlette

My friend, boss, and co-blog contributor, Brendan Sullivan told me that one of our younger Headfirst teams was developing into something special.  “Good players – very good culture” was the report I received.  So when this team was in the middle of a game as I was finishing a private lesson, I figured I’d watch an inning or two. 

It was immediately evident that our pitcher was cruising.  Like most successful pitchers, he was working quickly and throwing strikes.  With one out and a runner on first, the pitcher induced a routine ground ball right at the second baseman… who allowed the ball through his legs and into right field.  The game most have been close (I didn’t, and still don’t, know what the score was at the time) because the opposing team was energized, perhaps sensing their moment to finally get to the pitcher. 

As the other team’s voices rose, my eyes gravitated toward the pitcher to gauge his reaction.  Anyone who coaches youth sports braces for the worst when a player reacts to a teammate’s mistake: slumped shoulders, a hat or glove throw, a look at a coach to seeking validation that it “wasn’t my fault,” an F-Bomb, a verbal assault on a teammate.  What happened next in this particular case is the impetus for this post.

The pitcher, a youngster of twelve years old, calmly turned back to his second baseman, and said, “All good, bud.  I’ll get you another one.”  At no time in the six years I’ve been coaching have I been more impressed with the selflessness and maturity of a young athlete – or a team’s overall culture.  That moment epitomized all the reasons we coach and themes we try to instill: by caring about your teammates more than yourselves, you allow everyone to maximize both their enjoyment of team success and their own contributions to that end. 

Before the young man threw another pitch, I turned around to walk to my car, feeling good about how sports can build the character of young men and women.  As for this team, I had seen everything I needed to see.

November 17, 2008 - Posted by | On the Field, written by John Bramlette

1 Comment »

  1. Great post. I think we could write an entire separate blog on the poker face in baseball. We can get Harold Baines as a guest contributor.

    Comment by Ted Sullivan | November 18, 2008

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