If You Burn it They Will Come

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So while I was mowing my practice field for little league, I almost burnt it up.

All I had to put it out was a rake, a half drunk bottle of Diet Dr Pepper, and some flip flops.  The wind was blowing and the lit pile of grass got bigger with each gust.  I was able to keep it relatively contained, but each time I’d start mowing, it would roar back to life.

A kind woman did stop and give me some of the melted ice from her beer cooler to put it out, but no luck.  She didn’t offer me a beer–just sayin.  I called my wife and she brought a giant ice chest full of water, still not enough.

I relented, and called in the professionals.

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I stomped it out temporarily for this picture, but with each gust of wind the flames would reappear. This is after a couple coolers worth of water.

 

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Of course my little minions were excited about seeing the fireman come….

 

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Me? Not so much. 

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OK, maybe a little. 

 

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Fire out, I resumed mowing with no further incident.  Practice field looks pretty decent now, with one notable exception.  Nevertheless, I think it’s safe to say we’ve started this season red hot!

Coach’em Up

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I’ve been busier than the men’s room at Golden Corral on chili-mac and cheese night, coaching two little league teams. After learning 23 names, managing 22 games, and having about 25 practices I’ve learned to leave the gear in my truck, don’t forget the water, and have everyone visit the bathroom before the first pitch.

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I think we want all boys to lead active lives and build confidence in themselves through success after hard work.

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In a sense, I am always coaching; be it lining their knuckles up in while holding the bat, keeping their feet floppy in the free style, reeling in a redfish, or saying the dinner prayer.

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I’ve found my boys learn in waves. For instance, swimming the fly is a learning progression depending on timing and the kick. But if you tell them everything they must do before swimming it correctly, they will almost be paralyzed with information overload. Break it down into simple steps and after a few short sessions, they suddenly get it.

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No sense trying to explain the intricacies of the infield fly rule to a 7 year old.

I get excited and have fun. Go ahead and smile, yell, and get fired up with the boys. The younger they are the more they love it and learn to feed off your energy. Encourage them to celebrate and be goofy when they succeed. 20140515-092451.jpg

It’s all about the fun. When my wife grabbed a few tennis rackets at a thrift store, obligatory sweat bands were in order. Sadly, I couldn’t find any painfully short shorts to complete the 1980s look of these burgeoning McEnroe’s.

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The other night we set up a practice elk camp in the back yard, building a fire, roasting some dogs, and breaking out our new backpacking stove from MSR. The boys spread the sleeping mats and bags out, and scattered army men over the floors of the tent. You know, the essential stuff for an elk hunt.

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One of Davids song lyrics says “Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from Him,” and it’s true. If you have children in your life to mentor, train and coach don’t hesitate to do so. If sports aren’t your thing, coach them to do what you like. Whatever you enjoy, teaching a kid to do what you like and do it well creates a satisfaction way beyond your own accomplishments. I’ve been on some fine hunts, scored touchdowns and caught a bunch of fish but nothing is like seeing kids you’ve taught do the same. While it takes patience and time, the reward far outweighs the cost.