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Little Teammate is the story of a child who experiences a father’s unconditional love through the game of baseball. The story contrasts two memorable moments, set one week apart: Little Teammate steps up to the plate with a chance to win the game. In the first game, Little Teammate's home run wins the game. The father's response is delight in his child. In the second game, Little Teammate's strikeout loses the game. The father's response is delight in his child, which surprises and confounds Little Teammate. The reassuring words of the Father-- I love you when you hit the ball. I love you when you miss the ball. I love you because you are my Little Teammate-- illustrates the ideal of unconditional love that parents strive to show their children….and that their children are desperate to experience.
A Note to Parents:
What do you want your son and daughter to know as they begin to play sports? This was the question I set out to answer as I imagined the Little Teammate character. If you're going to read this to your kids, I really want you to know who inspired this story, and why I dedicated this book to my father.
Before my games as a kid, Dad would leave behind a notecard on my bed with a quote, a Bible verse, and some practical advice.
Play hard, be patient, be aggressive, don't worry if you miss a few shots, get your teammates involved, BE READY, DO YOUR BEST, AND HAVE SOME FUN!
I played college basketball as a walk-on at Wake Forest. Moments before leaving my dorm for our biggest game of the year against North Carolina, there was a knock at the door. It was courier holding an overnight package. Inside the package was a note from my Dad. Even though he knew my playing time would likely be zero this particular night, he had not forgotten. whether different seasons of my life called me to be a starter or the player sitting farthest away from the coach on the bench, my Dad knew that my brothers and I needed encouragement.
After writing my first book, Teammates Matter: Fighting for Something Greater than Self, I traveled to school communities across the United States for almost 10 years. While sharing my story and promoting team, I also learned what was happening at various levels of athletics. Continually, I met high school students worn down from feeling as if their lives were one big performance, whereby love from their parents seemed conditional on achievement.
My kids' sports journey has only just begun, so please know that this book is not written from the perspective of the imperfect, unseasoned parent that I am. Rather, the ensuing pages are written by a son who was loved, encouraged, and accepted by also imperfect parents, whether he hit the ball or missed the ball.