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Coaching Baseball

Years ago, my father coached a team of eight-year-olds. He had a few excellent players, and some who just couldn’t get the hang of the game. Dad’s team didn’t win once all season. But in the last inning of the last game, his team was only down by a run. There was one boy who had never been able to hit the ball—or catch it. With two outs, it was his turn to bat. He surprised the world and got a single!

The next batter was the team slugger. Finally, Dad’s players might win a game. The slugger connected, and as the boy who hit the single ran to second, he saw the ball coming toward him. Not so certain of baseball’s rules, he caught it. Final out! Dad’s team lost!

Quickly, my father told his team to cheer. The boy beamed. It never occurred to him that he lost the game. All he knew was he had hit the ball and caught it—both for the first time.His parents later thanked my dad. Their child had never even gotten in a game before that season. We never told the boy exactly what happened. We didn’t want to ruin it for him. And till this day, I’m proud of what my father did that afternoon.

Quoted by Jeffrey Zaslow in Tell Me All About It, 1990