This summer—due to the craziness that is a family with 5 kids—I've taken my little brother to almost all of his little league baseball games. When you spend every Tuesday and Thursday night watching the same group of twelve kids, it's inevitable that they teach you a few things.
1. Sometimes you just need to shake it off.
Before I write anything here, let's be real clear that I am not talking about T. Swift. What I'm talking about is those times when no matter what you do, life just doesn't seem to go right for you. In the case of little league, maybe that means you can't seem to pitch for your life, even if your life (or, you know, your team) depends on it or when you miss a catch and what should have ended in a runner on second base ends in a home run. When this happens you just need to shake it off (and if you attend a little league game you will, without a doubt, hear parents yelling this); if you let your mistakes get you upset you're going to be too distracted to play well the rest of the game. While you're probably not pitching baseballs on a daily basis in your life, we all have times when we mess up and can't seem to get what we did wrong out of our heads. If you don't shake it off though, you'll never be able to move on and enjoy what is right in front of you.
2. If you strike out, you better do it swinging.
I've heard my brother's coaches tell the team this plenty of times this season. If you refuse to swing at the ball, you're going to strike out every time you get up to bat, but if you swing, at least you have some sort of chance of hitting the ball. In life, there is always a chance that you're going to screw up but if you refuse to even try, then you're automatically set up to fail. If you try your hardest and something just doesn't come through for you, then maybe it wasn't meant to be, but you'll never know unless you try.
3. A good group of friends will get you through anything.
This little league team has been through more losses than wins, injuries and countless mistakes, but through it all they are still a team. At the end of the night, these boys can leave knowing that no matter what happened during that game, their teammates have their back and will be right back with them at the next game to fight it out again. While it's probably not necessary to have as many as twelve people who have your back, it's still an amazing feeling to know that you do have a group of people ready to back you up whenever you need them.
4. Often times you find family in the least likely of places.
While the team itself becomes a family throughout the season, over years of playing with same boys, the people in the stands become a part of the family just as much as those on the field. Even though it may suck when no one can be there specifically to support one of the boys, there is always someone cheering. It doesn't matter if you've got 10 people in the stands or zero, when you get up to bat, or when you make a good play that whole crowd is your family. Sometimes in life, the smallest things can create the strongest connections. If you let it happen, some of your closest family members may not be those with a drop of your blood in them.
5. If all else fails, get some ice cream!
Even after the toughest losses, when the team gets ice cream together you know everything will be alright. Though there may have been tears and hats thrown at the diamond, once they get ice cream they have no choice but to smile, at least a little. Even better is the ice cream after a win because the excitement is only amplified by sugar and the gathering of this whole crazy baseball family. Whether you're having your best or worst day, you should always make time for ice cream and friends.