For the past three summers, our daughter has been involved in our community’s local t-ball program. While she loves playing the game, getting her dressed in her uniform, into the car, and then to the fields is sometimes a HUGE chore. I often ask myself if it’s worth all of the hassle we go through to get her there. I find myself always saying “yes” to that question, and here is why.
Besides all of the athletic skills you learn and practice when you are on a t-ball team, the sport also teaches children many important life lessons. These small life lessons are the beginning of bigger morals and values that all parents want their children to learn. T-ball is just one avenue of helping them learn these lessons so that they can be better citizens in the future.
When thinking about t-ball, I can describe several life lessons that children experience while playing the sport. Here are three of my favorites.
1. How to Be Patient
Just like in most sports, t-ball requires patience. You always must wait your turn to be up to bat. This can be difficult for some children because sometimes, depending on the size of your team, you might have to wait for 11 other kids to be up to bat before it’s your turn. And what if there are three outs before it’s your turn at bat? Then you have to wait through another whole inning for your turn!
This is no different then us adults waiting in line at a stoplight. Sometimes you get your turn the first time. Other times, when there is a lot of traffic, you might have to be patient and wait through yet another red light for it to turn green again. That’s a life lesson kids will carry and work on forever, so there’s no better place to practice it than during a t-ball game!
2. Always Be a Team Player
To play t-ball you have to have a team of players. It’s not a sport that one can do alone. T-ball, as well as many other sports, teaches kids to do their part and to be supportive of others. When someone makes an error or gets out during the game, the team learns to still cheer them on. Being part of the team helps them learn to work together and to use their strengths and differences for the better good of the team.
As adults we have to do this with some professions. Many jobs require you to work well with others and to complete projects cooperatively. You have to support each other until the work is complete and trust that everyone is doing their best. This begins early in life and t-ball is often the first place that young children are put to the test and asked to use this skill.
3. Always Listen to Your Heart
At sporting events you will often hear all sorts of comments coming from the crowd. The coaches will give directions to the players and then sometimes parents will counteract that direction with something different, yelling it out to their child. Sometimes the kids will also tell each other what to do, even if it goes against what the coach is saying. This all can be confusing, and this is when listening to your heart comes into play. Children need to learn to trust themselves and to do what they know in their heart is the right thing to do. They learn to make decisions based on what they value and respect.
In our adult world, we have to make our own decisions all of the time. Sometimes we have to use our own morals to decide what is right, which isn’t always easy. The more practice we have listening to our own hearts as children, the better decision makers we will become as adults. T-ball is a great place to work on that skill and a safe place to try making good choices. If you fail, your coach or parents will teach you what to do next time, so that you don’t make that mistake again.
The next time you go to watch your child’s t-ball game or take them to ball practice, be aware of all of the life lessons your child is being introduced to. It’s not just about being athletic or playing the sport. It’s about learning to be a good person, friend, and family member in this big, big world of ours.