Making Kids Smile
There is something profoundly powerful about making others smile.
Today I did a clinic in Centerville, Ohio. There were 16 kids at the clinic. 15 of them were boys, one was a girl.
As I spoke to the group about leadership and what we expected from them during the day I continued to say “baseball” and would intentionally say “softball” or when I would say “boys” I would intentionally say “girls” to make her know she was included.
As I did this, she smiled.
Every. Single. Time.
She lit up every single time this guy she has never met in her life included her into this group of 16 catchers. 15 of which were baseball catchers. She was all alone being the only softball catcher there.
She never felt alone though.
By speaking in such a way she knew she was part of the group. There was nothing about her that made her unworthy of being there with the guys. That made it, in her mind, seem like a true “catching” camp, not a baseball catching or a softball catching camp. It was all about being a better catcher.
No competing against each other, but learning and working together to each improve. Pulling for one another. Improving side by side.
She is a softball player, not a baseball player. And catching is not just for boys, it’s for girls too.
That little girl’s smile is what made my trip to OH worth making. More than anything else, seeing her light up because she knew she was included let me know it was a great camp. She knew she was seen. She wasn’t invisible and she wasn’t out of place. And she didn’t have to fight to be respected. She was shown respect from the beginning.
She was right where she belonged.
Wearing her catcher’s gear and learning side by side with the boys.
Even though she was one of the smallest kids at the camp, she had one of the biggest smiles and one of the biggest hearts.
Remember to use language of inclusivity with players. Letting them know they are welcome and part of the group. Especially with kids. They want to be accepted and they want to be a part of the team. Let them know they are by the way you speak.
Thank you, softball catcher, for making my trip to Ohio one worth making!