I have been asked many times lately, "Why would YOU write a book?" This sounds like a very reasonable question, and my go-to answer has always included the demand from people who have read the letter that I wrote to youth sports parents who are asking for more information. As I have put more thought into this, I believe the answer is actually deeper. I think it is a courage issue.
Each of us has things we believe in, and occasionally we are called to the carpet to stand up for those beliefs. I believe my stance on youth sports is not necessarily a popular one, but I saw an opportunity to stand up for a youth sports culture that has radically changed. My original hesitations revolved around the fact that I am a relatively young father and the fear of sounding like a know-it-all. I also have to face the fact that many people are going to see that I wrote a book, and ask "what has he done in the game that would warrant him sharing his thoughts?" Others will respond with a simple, but poignant, "Mike who?" I get all that and I actually had to talk myself through these issues.
In deciding to do the project, I believe the tipping point was the sincerity of a few questions from parents who were humble enough to just ask for help. They knew I wasn't the oldest, wisest, most experienced baseball mind in the world, but they heard something that made sense and they wanted to learn more. To provide some of these parents and coaches with an alternative method for using sports as a means to help grow kids would be a privilege, and in some sense, a responsibility.
In a world where it is increasingly less popular to stand up for issues like character and integrity (let alone topics like faith), I believe our fear of criticism cannot trump the potential of making a difference. I am not so naive to believe sports can change our culture as a whole, nor do I think the ideas I have about youth sports can create wholesale change...but, how do we know if we don't have the guts to try?
Encourage is a word I have thought a lot about lately, and simply to instill or bring "courage" to someone else who is trying to do the right thing is a noble and worthwhile effort. I hope you are encouraged today to stand up for what you believe in, stare criticism in the face, and dare to do great things despite the odds and in spite of the nay sayers. You never know, your courage could change a life...change the world.