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Hustling to first base is important, but so are Oreos

May 4, 2012
By Jon Buzby ,

"I paid good money for you to play and you are going to hustle whether you're tired or not and whether you want to or not."

Those were the words out of the mouth of a mom at my nephew's baseball game last weekend as her son jogged to first base after smacking a line drive to left field.

Keep in mind this was a tee ball game where kids can't advance to the next base until the next batter hits, not one runner was called out the entire day, the score was not kept, and the temperatures hovered around 90 degrees under a blazing sun.

The highlight of the game for kids this age when the weather is perfect is donning the team T-shirt and cap, perhaps topped only by enjoying the post-game snack. Sprinting to first base was not going to be a priority - unless there was a juice box and sleeve of cookies waiting for them - in the less-than-perfect weather conditions.

This parent, who by the way, looked like she had not run herself in quite some time, made a spectacle of herself by running - the definition of running is all relative in this case - to first base yelling those words to her child.

From what I saw, most of the kids did not hustle down to first base, but it wasn't because they didn't care, rather it was just too stinking hot to run anywhere. And yet this mom felt her child should be putting out more effort than everyone else.

Sometimes we parents forget that kids are smarter than we think. My guess is what was going through this kid's mind was: "It's hot, I'm tired, I'm going to be safe at first base no matter what and I can't run to second anyway, so why do I need to sprint to first?"

Suffice it to say there are several examples of things that child could have turned and said to his mother. Fortunately, he was smart enough to keep them all to himself.

My guess is if you asked the same kid today, he couldn't tell you how many hits he had, which team won, or even when his next game is; but he'd be able to tell you his snack was a cherry-flavored juice box and bag of mini Oreos.

And I can tell you that every kid sprinted for them.

Jon Buzby's columns appear in newspapers and magazines around the country as well as numerous webites. Email your comments to and follow him on Twitter @jonbuzby.



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