Under blue skies, puffy white clouds and spring tree blossoms, Little League of Davis celebrated opening day last month.
As the busy mom of a Farm Division Dodger, my heart swelled with pride as I watched my 7 year old son march confidently onto the field, high five some local officials as well as members of the UC Davis Baseball team, and proceed to cheer on the first pitch of the season.
My pride soon turned to nervous knots as I realized his first official game would follow that Monday. How in the world would my little boy hit a ball served to him via a pitch machine dialed at 38 miles an hour? Would he be able to field all those balls headed to him in right field? Would he be ok if he didn’t get on base his first game? As we took the field last Monday night, I spent the majority of the game reminding myself of two important things:
First, I repeated my mantra over and over again: Coaches coach, kids play, we cheer. That’s it. End of story. My job is to cheer for my son and all the amazing boys on the team!
Second, this is about fun and love of sport. As we recently identified as part of a new research report we are completing with the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, or SGMA for short. This Grassroots Sports Participation study found that the number one motivator for kids (hands down over any other motivator) is FUN. So the researcher in me kept repeating, “he’s having fun and that’s what’s important…”
Did he get on base? No. Did he have a slight meltdown at his first strikeout? Yes. But was he beaming with joy at the idea of receiving a free snow cone after the game at the snack shack? YES! That’s right, it was FUN! We look forward to announcing more of these study tidbits next month…..stay tuned!
– Stephany Cavatoni is our chief research guru and gets active by biking around town in Davis, California, hitting up the ARC at UC Davis, and cheering/coaching her kids in youth sports.