A group of twelve 9 and 10 year old boys from my hometown won the Tennessee Dixie Youth state championship yesterday after an undefeated season. They are headed to the World Series in August. I, for one, am so very proud of them. They are the first team to ever claim a state title in the history of the Fairview youth athletics organization.
Fairview won the state title game against Signal Mountain in an extra inning and with a lot of hard work. Although both teams fought a hard fight, Fairview won it fair and square. I guess you could say they deserved to win. This core group of boys have been playing together since they were learning the basics. The team has played hard every year and been so close to the state championship several times. Yesterday afternoon, they finally tasted that victory.
I know every boy on that team. I have known some of them as babies and have watched them grow up into the fine young men they are. Because that’s what they are – young men. Not just baseball players. I am absolutely proud of their accomplishments on the field but I want to make sure I never confuse what they have done with who they are.
In addition to great ball players, they are respectful sons, compassionate brothers, kind nephews, encouraging friends and determined students. On and off the field, they are driven, honest, smart, patient and hard-working. Those are the things I want to celebrate most.
We should always be proud of the kids we influence – not for what they do, but who they are. I am excited for these boys but I am no more proud of them today than I was two days ago.
There’s nothing wrong with celebrating the heck out of a win, as long as we are teaching the kids and teenagers we influence that their character matters more. As long as we remind them often that the life choices they make and the relationships they build will always make us more proud and make a bigger difference in their futures.
Here’s what we should do for these boys:
- Remind them often of the pride they have in their hearts right now. One day, they will face failure and need to remember the joy.
- Teach them to be heroes to the little eyes and ears around them. Their younger siblings, cousins, neighbors and friends will idolize them. Remind them that the greatest quality of a hero is humility.
- Guide them to accept credit for their team’s accomplishments as a team. Not one of them could have got to where they are by themselves.
- Tell them “thank you” for representing Fairview so well – on and off the field. Urge them to represent Tennessee just as well in their World Series next month.
- Challenge them to greatness. Expect them to build even more character as individuals and as a team because of the experiences they are living right now.
To the boys – thank you for inspiring me to fight for my dreams. You are incredible – on and off the field.
Today’s “get to know you” question:
Photos Courtesy of Facebook