The Value of Good Sportsmanship
Even though the feeling of winter is still very much in the air in the northeast, the exhibition baseball games on television make it feel as though spring has arrived. Baseball season always brings back nostalgic feelings of days gone by for me. For many years, my baseball memories were limited to my youth. However, after spending last summer as an Iroquois Springs baseball instructor, my memories are now more recent.
Last summer, for the first time ever, Iroquois Springs held a boys upper camp all-star baseball game as an evening event. All of boys camp was in attendance to watch the older boys play. Truth be told, the game was not an all-star game in the true sense of the word. There were players with varying degrees of baseball skills on each 18-man roster. As one of the managers, it was up to me to make sure that everyone on my team got playing time, which was no easy feat in an abbreviated game.
Towards the latter part of a very close game, one of the campers who was not a baseball player came up to bat. The pitcher on the mound was a high school baseball player who could have easily blown the ball past his friend in the heat of battle, but instead chose to put sportsmanship and camaraderie above winning. This is not to say that the pitcher wasn’t a competitor. In fact, he was one of the most competitive players on the field.
The first pitch resulted in a swinging strike. After the pitch, the pitcher told the batter that he swung a little early. The next pitch was outside of the strike zone. Before it reached the plate, the pitcher told the batter not to swing because it was a bad pitch. The batter fouled off the following pitch, and the pitcher gave him more advice. On the final pitch, the batter grounded the ball into the infield, and players from both teams cheered for him.
Years from now, most of the players will not remember the details of the game as memories inevitably fade with time. But for one camper, it will be a night that he will never forget. When he thinks back to his camp days in the future, he will always remember hitting the ball in an all-star baseball game.
Although my team ultimately lost the game, I was proud to be a part of this act of good sportsmanship.
Written by Adam Waldman