ADAM GETS TO PLAY

ADAM GETS TO PLAY

From Chicken Soup for the Child's Soul

Adam Gets to Play

The other sports are just sports. Baseball is a love.

Bryant Gumbel

Early spring always brings out Adam’s baseball fever. My son’s love for the game even outdoes his love for his bike. This spring he was more excited than ever because he was old enough to try out for Little League. Getting on the league meant one very important thing: practice.

Adam wanted to be a pitcher. He did not want to try out for any other position. So, with his father as his trainer and a new glove, he set out to achieve his goal. Every evening and weekend, they practiced together: pitching, working the strike zones, catching, and batting.

At first, Adam had trouble with his swing, and his father gave him pointers on how he should grip and position the bat, and where to stand in the batter’s box. When his father pitched to him, Adam worked on tightening up his strike zone. When it came time to work on his pitching, Adam’s father would be the catcher. Working on the batter’s strike zone, Adam pitched high balls and low balls. He caught the ball when his father threw it back, and then he would pitch again.

On the day of the first team practice, the children and their parents met at the ball field. The coach called out names and positions for the first tryouts. As the game progressed, the players switched different positions while the coaches watched. Adam moved through the field positions, taking his turn at batting, catching, and pitching. At the end of the practice, the coach called the team, and the children formed a circle around him. He called out each of their names and told them the positions they would play. As the coach assigned positions, the circle of children grew smaller, as one by one they left to return to their parents. Their cheerful voices filled the air as they told their parents what positions they’d been given.

Adam approached our family while we were packing up our lawn chairs, getting ready to go home. He looked upset as he grabbed a chair and carried it to the car.

“So?” his father asked. “What position did you get? You played well out there.”

Adam couldn’t hide the disappointment in his voice when he told his father that the coach had assigned him the catcher’s position.

“That’s great! You don’t know how lucky you are. You get to play every game,” his father encouraged him. “Pitchers get tired, and when they do, sometimes they can’t even seem to get the ball over the plate. That’s why there are relief pitchers. But catchers play all the time. You’ll always have action at the plate—tagging out runners as they come in for a run, catching pop-up foul balls . . . the coach must think highly of your catching skills.”

As Adam’s father talked up the catcher’s position, the pride he felt for his son shone through. He told Adam how on a team, each person is placed in the position he can play best based on his strengths. “That’s what makes a team strong,” he assured Adam.

Adam played catcher for that first year, and every year after that. But he never quit working on his pitching skills. He’d still love to play that position, and some day he might. But for now, he’s happy because he gets to play in every game.

Talia Haven

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