WHAT IS BASEBALL?
By: Jossi De La Torre
It is more than evident that in any youth sport, players, coaches, and parents all must share one single aspect of the game that makes all the long drives and extended weekends worthwhile, passion. Most may feel discouraged to discover the complexities and subtleness of baseball. Baseball requires patience and dedication, two elements that Perfect Game Youth showcases exquisitely. Players who compete with 110% effort, coaches who strive for growth and parents who provide nothing but support, all come together each weekend for the challenge that Perfect Game presents, a challenge that transforms into passion.
Players in all youth divisions face the threat of striking out or committing an error. But it is that threat of uncertainty that drives these young players to focus fiercely next inning at bat or the next time they stand tall on that field. Coaches like Steve Beach from Central Florida Pride Baseball 10u, guides his players to the realization that baseball is a mental game and at times it can be a game of failure and a player, “Can’t be scared to play.” In his opinion it is those who withstand the fear of striking out that prevail. Beach admires the competiveness and quality of baseball that Perfect Game exposes to his players.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, head coach of CBC Riverhawks, strives to help his players not only becoming great athletes on the field but also exceptional young men. Fitzpatrick uses his personal experience in playing competitive baseball to better understand his players inside and out. When asked what overall goal he had for the season, Fitzpatrick answered with “To help these kids become better versions of themselves.”
Mentor, Adam Alvarez of Total Baseball Sport Academy (TBSA), discloses the beauty in failure. With baseball being a sport that challenges a player to face failure more than 50% of the time, Alvarez believes that is it essential for players to face failure in order to become a more humble and passionate player. Being head of the academy Alvarez focuses on transforming his players into responsible, passionate young men.
It is obvious that coaches and leaders that participate in the Perfect Game Tournaments all share similar perspectives in terms of how to revolutionize the youth of baseball. Terry Bellah, head coach of Gator Ball 14u, strikes the same concept of converting ordinary young men into remarkable players. When asked, what is one thing he reminds his players every day, his response was, “You can never be good enough.”
The same way these coaches share perspective, players do not differ as much as we may think. Players from the age groups of, 10u, 12u, 14u all centralize around the idea that they play for the love of the game. Ten-year-old, Logan Lewis from Inferno 10u, painted the perfect picture as to why he plays the game of baseball, “It is fun to play hard with my friends and I have the best coaches who help me improve a lot.”
Twelve-year old, Luke Carey from the 12u TBSA Patriots, also believes that baseball is far more than winning games. Carey believes that by working hard and together with his teammates, they will all ultimately become the best players they can be. When asked, what he loved most about baseball his response was, “It brings me closer to the people around me.”
Lastly, 14u player of Evolution Elite, John Hall believes that being a part of an amazing team will help him become a professional baseball player. Due to his admiration for teams, such as the New York Yankees and Mets, when asked what his ultimate goal is in regards to his future, his response was simple and bold, “To make it.”
What may seem like a static game to some, baseball in the eyes of players, coaches, and parents who come in, week in and week out to Perfect Game tournaments, know that it is far more than just two hours on a field. It is a game that is led by individuals who believe in their players. It is a game that challenges the uncertainties in the minds of the youth. It is a game that converts boys into men. It is a game that brings people closer to the ones they love. Baseball is a game of passion. Baseball is the ideal game. Baseball is the Perfect Game.