By: Kevin Christofora
How Participating in Little League Can Strengthen Relationships with Your Loved Ones
Have you ever been to a youth baseball game? Have you ever seen a kid get his or her first hit? When you see them standing on first base, looking into the crowd to wave to their mom and dad, you witness a priceless moment. As a coach for youth baseball, I’ve witnessed this numerous times and have vivid memories of these special moments. In fact, I’ve experienced it enough times that I have to remember to stop and appreciate it, especially when my own children achieve these milestones.
As a youth coach and a father, my life inherently includes participating in sports with my children. This puts me in a unique position that can be advantageous but is sometimes hard to navigate. Overall, though, it has allowed me to see how baseball can be an incredible resource that enables families to bond like nothing else does. Here are three ways in which baseball can strengthen the bonds between you and your family members:
- It opens up communication. I think participating in youth baseball is incredibly important for children, because the sport teaches countless lessons that are applicable to real life. However, I also understand that it’s not okay to live vicariously through your child. Some parents push their children to be the best, and drive them all over for training, lessons, and countless games. I recently spoke to my son and asked if I ever pushed him too hard– at 47 years old, I don’t need to be winning any little league championships– and that the most important thing was that he enjoyed playing the game. Not pushing him, and asking whether playing the game made him happy, allowed him to feel comfortable opening up about his feelings and brought us closer together as father and son.
- It keeps you together. Rather than being in separate rooms if the house, all on a computer, we play ball in the yard. Together we strategize, work as a team, compete with one another, and, ultimately, win and lose as a family. You don’t have to play baseball to spend time with your family; you can go swimming, play a board game, or throw a frisbee around. While I do think playing ball with my family allows us to bond in a really unique way, any time you spend with your loved ones will create lasting memories and keep the family unit going strong.
- It allows you to cheer each other on. Whether you’re working in your children’s little league as a coach, helping out at the Snack Shack, or simply watching the game, you’re participating, too. You cheer your children on, but your activity as coach, helper, or spectator serves a purpose and they can be proud of you, too. Older or younger siblings may also help out or watch the game; what may seem like one child’s sport can really be an opportunity for the whole family to gather, work together, and appreciate one another.
As you can see, baseball is a fantastic way to come together as a family. It can open up your relationship by facilitating communication, give you an activity to bond over, and enable you to work together for the team’s cause. In all, it’s a fantastic way to strengthen your relationships with those you love, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Christofora, a father and little league coach, hopes his books will inspire children to play outside more often. A devotee of America's pastime, he aims to teach young people about baseball and the habits of a healthy lifestyle in the form of a fun and educational bedtime story.
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