I love watching the Little League© World Series games on television! I love the energy that these young players invest in every game.
I love the way they show their emotions by their facial expressions. They are engaged, they are passionate, sometimes they cheer, sometimes they cry. I love the way these young people care about their fellow teammates. I love the positive interactions between the players and their coaches. But one of the things I enjoy most about the Little League organization is the pledge to be shared before each game – written by Peter J. McGovern, the late president of Little League Baseball, in 1954… “I trust in God. I love my country and will respect its laws. I will play fair and strive to win.” Interestingly, the text of this pledge was sent to U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, a strong supporter of the Little League, and he responded to Mr. McGovern, “Thank you for sending me the inspiring and fine pledge…” And for another historical ‘moment’, President George W. Bush first recited the Little League Pledge in 1955 as a Little Leaguer in Midland, Texas!
The purpose and passion of this pledge was then joined by a pledge to be shared by parents… “I will teach all children to play fair and do their best. I will positively support all managers, coaches and players. I will respect the decisions of the umpires. I will praise a good effort despite the outcome of the game.”
And so we learn that the history and philosophy of the Little League is about more than teaching youth how to play quality baseball, although they certainly do this. But it’s about teaching sportsmanship… it’s about nurturing commitment… it’s about developing children into amazing, strong adults.
So, what if we lived by the pledges above? Would we all not be better engaged – independently and with each other – if we made these pledges part of our everyday life? Think about it… I’m guessing that we would better enjoy tasks given to us. Perhaps our attitude would be more positive? Might we better support, enthusiastically, those we work with, those we live with? I’m thinking that I might try to do my best, working with others toward a common goal. I’m hoping that I might accept defeat with more grace. Would I be one that someone could count on to be honest and fair? Might I work with my team, together, toward a common goal? I’m thinking that these suggestions about have the potential to make us more successful, but more importantly to bring us contentment, satisfaction and joy in our work, and in our life. I’m willing to try… how about you?
Clearly, we’ve all seen examples of youth sporting events where there was dissension, where there was a less than positive attitude shared by spectators and athletes alike. But for me… thank you to each Little Leaguer, to each parent of a Little Leaguer and to each coach who provides us with good examples for how we can better live our lives…
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