Clutch hitting … great pitching … vacuum cleaning fielding. Playing on a tree-lined street while growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, I would imagine myself in the World Series for hours on end. I didn’t make it to the big leagues, but I learned valuable lessons nontheless.
In this year's Fall Classic, the San Francisco Giants used all of the above attributes as they swept the Detroit Tigers. There are many life lessons to be learned from the Giants triumph. By participating in organized sports, youth often grasp leadership skills, care about something much larger than themselves and develop a “never die” attitude. Sports help to build character.
On a personal level, sports helped me to understand that things don’t always come easy and to get along with diverse personalities. In Cleveland, I attended Collinwood High School which was racially divided during a highly charged time in the late 1970s. My high school football team was winless during my senior year. Losing can prompt divisiveness, finger-pointing and animosity. Nevertheless, we fought for each other. We created trust amongst our team. Today when things aren’t going well, I think back with fondness to that 0-10 team.
A few weeks ago, things looked bleak in San Francisco. It was unimaginable the Giants would win the World Series let alone even participate in it. San Francisco trailed Cincinnati 2-0 in the opening series. In a pivotal Game 3 of the best of 5 series, the Giants eked out a win despite striking out 16 times that night. They won Games 3, 4 and 5 in Cincinnati. The Giants moved on to play St. Louis in the NCLS. Left for dead and on the brink of elimination at 3-1, San Francisco went on a tear. It didn’t lose another game en route to winning the World Series.
Young people can learn much from the Giants, just as I did from my high school team. Members from Boys & Girls Clubs in Detroit got a chance to learn from the pros prior to Game 3. Just before game time, some 200 Club members participated in a WANNA PLAY?™ event in which they engaged in baseball and fitness related opportunities. Members also got an opportunity to hear from legendary MLB great Frank Robinson – the first African American manager in Major League history.
Wayne B. Moss is BGCA's senior director of Sports, Fitness and Recreation.
The event also featured an announcement that Boys & Girls Clubs of America, with the support of Major League Baseball, broke a Guinness Book of World Record with more than 20,000 young people playing tag at multiple venues.
The journey and the win was a sweet victory for the Giants and for Boys & Girls Clubs kids. But the lasting legacy will be those lessons learned along the way.