Baseball teaches players, parents valuable lessons

  • Frank Workman<br>For the Enterprise
  • Friday, February 29, 2008 11:34am

Having a son who has played select baseball for the last six years (along with four years of high school ball), I’ve seen the game introduce him to people and places he might never have known, in addition to teaching him many lessons about life.

Earlier this month another season ended, and it occurred to me to take stock of some of the things I have learned watching him play almost 500 games.

I’ve learned that any and all superstitious game-day rituals I have observed, including what I ate for breakfast, the route I took to the ballpark or where I sat during the game, all worked perfectly, 100 percent of the time.

Until they stopped working.

The people on the field always affected the outcome of the game a lot more than I ever did. But still, one must respect a streak and behave accordingly.

The playing of 80 games in almost five months is a long and exhausting grind, and it has to be hard for any player to come to the park energized and excited to play every single day. When one considers that a Big Leaguer plays close to 200 games over seven months (including spring training), with daunting travel, a deeper appreciation for these athletes is gained.

Trips to Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, Idaho, California, Arizona and British Columbia for baseball have proven it’s clear that our area lags badly in terms of the number and quality of its baseball facilities. Most local diamonds are on high school campuses, shunted off to their far corners.

If it weren’t for the players themselves, who lovingly maintain their home fields, they would certainly fall into an even greater state of disrepair than they presently find themselves. Games at parks like Kirkland’s Peter Kirk, Bellevue’s Bannerwood, Kent Memorial or the new diamond at Lower Woodland make every game more enjoyable.

I’ve learned that perhaps the most amazing people on the planet are baseball moms. There are moms present at every game, from the bitter chill of March all the way through to what passes for our summer heat waves.

Chances are that when a boy shows up to play, on time, with a full belly, wearing a clean uniform, with yesterday’s skinned knee or bruised ego nursed, there is a mom to thank. When a boy remembers to say “thank you” for a favor done or a compliment paid, there’s a mom who has taught him the value of doing so.

Dads see their son in a uniform and see a player. Moms watch their son on the field and see, regardless of his size, facial hair or tattoos, their little boy. If another player’s mom isn’t present, they’ll sense when he needs a kind word and deliver it without hesitation. And if a dad and his son aren’t speaking to each other after a game (or have spoken too loudly to each other), it’s the mom who gets her “boys” back into the mood to talk with one another again.

I’ve been reminded that the greatest thing about having a son who has played so much baseball isn’t a thing at all. The relationships gained and friendships forged with other players (teammates and opponents alike), coaches and parents more than justify the time and expense involved, and make it all worthwhile. I look forward to watching the players become grown men with families of their own someday, teaching the same lessons they’ve learned.

One thing I’ve yet to figure out from watching baseball is the difference between a fence and a wall. Maybe in six more years I’ll solve that mystery.

Lake Forest Park resident Frank Workman is a regular contributor to The Enterprise Newspapers. Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to, by fax to 425-774-8622 or by mail to Sports editor, The Enterprise, 4303 198th St. SW., Lynnwood, WA 98036.

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