Little League Life Lessons

Honestly, this is my favorite time of the year. Why? Is it because summer is right around the corner? Sort of. Is it because I’m looking forward to all of our guests deciding it’s too hot to cook and they will come in to enjoy the best burgers and hot dogs Pittsburgh has to offer? Well, absolutely! But there’s yet another reason that always gets me pumped up in April leading into May. BASEBALL IS BACK!

Wait, I know what you’re thinking: “Come on, Doug, The Pirates always get our hopes up only to let us down after the All-Star Break.” Sadly, that’s true, but the tide has to turn sometime, right? But when I mention baseball, I’m not talking about our Bucs, I’m talking about Little League.

Is there any other activity that is as pure and uplifting as watching these little guys and girls playing in their first organized sport? I remember when I was their age, shagging fly balls with my glove that was three sizes to big for my six year old hand. Stepping into the box with your parents, siblings and friends watching to see if you could even swing that oh so heavy aluminum bat. I’m from the generation that had live balls being pitched, we didn’t have the cushion of hitting off a tee!

For a good majority of kids, this is their first experience at playing on a team, learning valuable lessons to build on as they grow into adults, realizing that others will be relying on them to achieve desired results. Not to mention playing by the rules, being a good sport to your opponents and most importantly how to have fun!

Now I’m quite aware that not all kids play baseball, some prefer soccer, basketball, gymnastics, dancing, cheer leading, and the list goes on and on. Some children have no interest in sports period, which is great, too. Everyone is different, discovering as the years peel away where their interests rest. But for me, it always brings a smile to my face when I see that young player stepping up to the plate for the first time, wide eyed, nervous, barely able to hold the bat properly. All too often, they will hack at the little white globe resting on the tee, or take swings at lobbed pitches, not even close to connecting.

It may be the next game, or even the next season, but the day will come when they make contact with that elusive red stitched ball. They may even just get a piece of it with a foul tip to the back stop, but that instantly identifiable clink of hide on metal always produces a genuine smile. That grin results from success, something we can all relate to. You can’t get a hit if you don’t step into the batters box. That’s why baseball is enlightening, simple and pure. There’s so much these little players will learn from the sport without even realizing it. In that regard, Baseball is a lot like life, don’t you think?

Every day when I open the doors of BnD’z for our guests, I think about how fortunate I am to do something that I sincerely love. If I wouldn’t have entered the batter’s box years ago, working and struggling to get hits, learning from my experiences, I wouldn’t have been able to hit this home run.

A sincere thank you goes out to all our guests, and for any of you local ballplayers that stop by in uniform, tell mom and dad we will give the entire family a special discount off their total bill, no matter if you went 4 for 4 or struck out each time. It’s just our way to show our appreciation and to remind you not to give up. Just like life, keep trying….you’ll get there!

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