What Does it Mean to “Honor the Game" in Baseball?
Baseball isn’t just a game, it’s part of the fabric of American history, and it has been passed down though many generations. The legacy of baseball promises not just an amusement, but a distinct code of American values that can be taught in a way that feels like family, and is definitely fun! The principals of baseball have become guidelines for self-management, a blueprint for surviving in the world around us. That is why we “Honor the Game.”
Check Your Ego Before Practice and Before Games
Maybe you disagree with an umpire’s call. Maybe you’re red hot mad at the coach. Maybe your team is having a losing streak and you just can’t stand it. Whatever the case, the field is no place for you to have a temper tantrum, mistreat your equipment, or mistreat others. There will be no bat flipping or helmet throwing or shouting. Lose your cool, and you can lose your turn on the field. You are not the whole team. You and many other people make up the team. You are a part of a whole, that’s why it’s called teamwork.
Bring the Heat, Bring your Best
When you’re out there, be relentless and never give up. When you’re running so fast your shoes catch up with you fifteen minutes later, you can’t really lose. When you’re at bat, the scoreboard is just a bunch of pretty shapes. Every hit matters, every swing is your chance to reach your personal best. There is no opponent who will ever be as complex or powerful as your own mind, only YOU can quit. When you understand that, you’ll always be unbeatable.
Respect the Rules
The rules of baseball exist to keep baseball fair. If you’re not following the rules, you’re not being fair! If you don’t want to be dragged off the field by a frustrated coach or disqualified for not following regulations, pay attention and act accordingly. By showing you can follow rules, you’re showing that you can be a part of a team, and you can follow the directives of the game.
Respect Your Team
You will be in many teams in life, teams of friends, teams of family, building a team of your own for plans and projects. You’re going to have to learn responsibility, accountability, letting go of blame and all of the petty things that go with thinking you’re either too good or too bad to play baseball. There’s no hiding from your teammates, they know who you are because they see how you play. Love your teammates like you love the game, bolster team spirit with compliments, striving on the field, and letting your gratitude show.
Respect Everyone Else
While you’re running around on the field, there are managers, umpires, and other officials giving their precious time to enforce the rules and make the calls. There are parents who transport you from game to game and tournament to tournament. There are volunteers who keep the facilities clean and the grass fresh, there are supporters in the stands, and lastly, there are your opponents. ALL of these people are to be respected and honored, because without them, the game doesn’t exist.
Demonstrate Grace and Integrity
Enjoy baseball for its own sake, not because you only care about a win. Consider the moral dimension that baseball offers, the sense of fellowship and a game well played by both teams. When you can show generosity to the other team and shake hands, that’s good sportsmanship. Integrity and respect make you a winner no matter what the outcome of any game.
Be a Baseball Warrior
What do you do when someone on the opposing team says something really nasty in an effort to try to distract your game? Focus your efforts on hitting that ball into the cornfield. Never let them see you sweat, and watch carefully for any opportunities and weaknesses in the strategy of the other team. Do not be fooled by taunts and name calling, do not sink to their level. Instead, watch their jaws drop as you steal yet another base, pitch another strike, or score another run.
Always Learn About the Game
No one knows everything, there’s too much stuff in the world to know. The more coachable you can be, the better you will play, it’s simple. When you listen to the coach and build up your physical and mental talents, you become very valuable. A catcher who has hands of glue is great, but if that catcher has no idea when to call a cutter, a curveball, or a splitter, that catcher’s got some more learning to do.
America’s Favorite Pastime is a great and wonderful game, but also a template for how to be harmonious with the world at large.