The Smallest Difference
During the summer of 2010, I spent a lot of my time working at baseball camps for America’s Game Baseball Facility. I was a staff member there, and I got the chance to teach the game of baseball to young children. There were two groups of kids that I worked with, the first group was ages 6-9, and the second group was ages 9-11. The camps were each a week in length, and there were five different sessions, so I had the opportunity to work with a lot of different kids. However, there was one youngster that stood out to me.
He was a seven year old boy by the name of Kevin, and he was a little different from most of the other kids at the camp. Kevin was small for his age, he was not the most skilled player, and he was somewhat of an outcast of the group. Kevin did not seem to have much confidence in himself when he arrived at the camp, which I believe caused him to hold back and not play to the best of his ability. Day after day, I worked with the kids, paying special attention to Kevin; not necessarily focusing on improving his swing or correcting his throwing motion, but more so on simply talking and getting to know him a little bit more every day. Slowly, but surely, I noticed him starting to gain confidence in himself while he was amongst his peers, and after the first couple days Kevin started feeling more comfortable around me as well. He would come sit next to me on our lunch break and engage in conversation as if we had known each other for years. Often we would not even discuss baseball; we would talk about whatever Kevin could think of; his siblings for example, or what television shows he enjoyed watching.
Just as I had thought, the more Kevin talked and gained confidence, the better he would do in the physical aspect of the game. By the end of the week, Kevin was no longer the shy, self-conscious kid that I had seen on the first day. He had come such a long way in every sense; he had made new friends and improved his baseball skills tremendously. On the last day of camp when parents were coming to pick up their children, Kevin ran up to me and gave me a hug. With a big smile on his face, he said “Thank you, Coach Adam”. This is one moment that I will never forget for as long as I am a coach. It is a great feeling to know that you personally made even the smallest difference in a young kid’s life, even if it is something as insignificant as teaching the game of baseball. It did not show up on any score card or stat sheet, but helping Kevin was a personal home run for me; one that I would not trade for anything.