Go-Givers give. It’s who they are; it’s what they do. They give in different ways and the most effective ones give according to their strengths.
John, a former minor league ballplayer, coaches my computer consultant Bill’s little boy’s baseball team here in Jupiter, Florida. Made up of boys and girls ages 6 through 8, not only do the kids get to learn a great sport but, in the hands of the right person, they also get to learn about life. Such is the case here.
According to Bill, on the first day of practice, John affectionately called Christopher “Small Fry,” which Christopher really enjoyed. Unfortunately, the other children saw this as an opportunity to use the well-intended nickname to make fun, which they did. After the first game, when they all sat together as a team, Coach John asked if anyone had any questions.
Christopher asked John if he would stop calling him Small Fry and instead call him by his name, Christopher. John said, “Sure, but I thought you liked that name.” “I did,” replied Christopher, “but now everyone is making fun of me for it.”
At this point, John called an “audible.” (Holy mixing of sports metaphors, Batman!)
“Christopher,” Coach John said, “I appreciate your speaking up about this, and from now on, I’ll call you Christopher. As for the rest of you, if anyone calls him ‘Small Fry’ you will not get your turn at bat.”
Oh, the lessons he taught to many people on many levels. Just a few:
#1 He honored Christopher for speaking up. Christopher and the others will embrace that lesson.
#2 He corrected himself, showing the children (and parents) it’s okay to change.
#3 He put the dignity of the individual as a high value in front of the other children (and parents).
#4 He taught the other children (and parents) that making fun of others is NOT acceptable (how unfortunate that in the world of children’s sports that is not necessarily an obvious fact).
#5 He put the role of sports in its proper place: to build the character and self-esteem of the child, not to tear it down.
Good for Coach John. Between him and our “Pindars of Wheeler High School,” we are seeing more and more examples of how Go-Givers are shaping our youth.
Any other thoughts regarding Coach John’s valuable lessons? Please let us know.