Opening Day is one month away. Today we start practice. Douglas is taking a big step up for a 10-year old. He’s moving up to the Majors division, playing with 11 and 12-year olds.
Last season was a breakthrough for Douglas. He was one of the starting pitchers in our rotation. There was only one other 9-year old in the AAA division who pitched as consistently as Douglas. Douglas pitched three solid innings in our Championship Game and helped us win. That’s a photo of him in that game.
In the Majors, he’s going to face better hitters. It’s not going to be easy for him to get strikeouts. As a hitter, he’s going to face bigger kids. They all throw hard, some throw 65mph. He’s going to have to work harder, harder than he’s ever done. Practice will be less play, and more work on skills and drills. Douglas can’t coast on his natural athletic ability anymore. This is the Majors.
This will be my third year managing Little League. I’ve finished in second and first place. I hope my players do well in the Majors. I have a good approach to developing ball players. Getting a group of boys to work as a team, to believe in themselves, to do their best, to play safe, to learn baseball skills, to being a good sport, takes a lot of my energy.
I’m eager to get all my new players together. I’m nervous about meeting their parents for the first time. Sometimes I wonder why I spend so much energy running this team. Then I think about what it means to Douglas and the rest of the boys. We wouldn’t want it any other way.