Kim Henderson – Little League lessons

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, August 3rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Well, baseball took a long time to arrive this year, but it’s finally here. 

Commentator Kim Henderson is going to tell us about some life lessons she’s learned from the sport.

KIM HENDERSON, COMMENTATOR: After months of social-distancing delays, the Little League ballparks are re-opening. And I have a bit of advice for all you mamas out there marking up your calendars with regular practice, batting practice, and two games a week. (You know who you are.)

The truth is, I learned a few things during my 15 years on those bleachers you now occupy, back when five Hendersons were wearing jerseys and the trusty old Suburban was pushing 400,000 on the odometer. Maybe it’s worth a minute of your hard-to-come-by time.

First, leave your cash at home on game nights. No matter how well you feed your family, giant pickles, pixie sticks, and nachos made from orange stuff out of a five-gallon drum will be a big draw. Go figure. 

Another thing, be sure to hold on to your flip flops. I once witnessed a mom stand on a bleacher and threaten to do bodily harm to a catcher with her footwear. Mama bears, the world is watching. Guard your emotions and your testimony.

Also, learn to nod, but know better. The likelihood of your little slugger making it to the pros isn’t too high, so keep things in perspective. I can vividly remember standing on the sidelines while a fellow mom informed me that her shortstop would someday play for the Atlanta Braves. I am sorry to say her dream did not come true.

And speaking of fellow baseball moms, make an effort to get to know them. One season I sat next to the scorekeeper for my daughter’s softball team. She smiled, I smiled, we traded scores—the stuff of surface relationships. I probably thought I was too busy to make a friend. But that fall, I read her obituary in the paper. She took her own life, and I will always regret that I did not make the effort to really get to know her.

While we’re on the important stuff, prepare to stand your ground. There once was this family who would not do ball on Sundays. Their son was placed on a team that held practice on Sundays, so he didn’t go. To any. At the end of the season, he was the only player picked from that team for All-Stars. Draw your own conclusions, especially those of you on the fence about Sunday-stealing travel ball.  

And last, here’s one for you frugal moms. I know how it is, but buy the team photo already. When my kids look at them now, they see faces of friends who have since tragically died in accidents and coaches who died from illnesses. They’re a sobering reminder that life is a vapor, and about way more than baseball. 

Keep that in mind, Little League mamas, as you treat those grass stains and load up those coolers. Know that this season of ball, as well as this season of your life, will be over before you know it. Batter up.

I’m Kim Henderson.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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