Growing up playing baseball in the back yard with my brother provided some of my most memorable experiences from childhood. I remember the time we were playing slow pitch wiffle ball and I got mad (I was probably losing), so I decided to break the rules and wing a fastball in there. Without flinching, my brother smacked that wiffle ball out of our yard, across the street and into the tree tops of our neighbors.
In the history of baseball there has probably never been a pitcher who celebrated an opposing player's home run like I did that day. But when my brother hit that home run, the light bulb went off in both of our heads and we realized we were good enough to play fast pitch.
Starting in the backyard
What we learned playing with one another in the backyard helped us when we played baseball in little league, through high school and through college for my brother (I played college basketball). What made it even better was that our dad coached our respective teams until we were teenagers.
Today, I'm witnessing and doing the same with my two sons. Every day they are playing some type of game together in the house, in the backyard, and everywhere we go. It's great to watch them experience it all. For many kids, playing sports with your siblings provides some of the best memories you'll ever have.
From the backyard to the big leagues
For most kids, however, playing with your sibling ends one day. I stopped playing with my brother because of the age gap, as he was four years older than me. For other siblings it could be the talent gap, or just a change in interests. There is one set of brothers, though, who experienced it longer than any other, playing together all the way to the Major Leagues.
Brothers Bill and Cal Ripken both played in the Major Leagues, and not only did they play, but they played on the same team for their dad, who was the manager. The Ripken brothers are the only set of siblings to play for their dad in the Major Leagues. Talk about memorable experiences!
Talking baseball, lessons learned, and helping today's youth
This month I was given the opportunity to chat with both Hall of Fame Major League Baseball player, Cal Ripken, Jr., and his Emmy-nominated broadcasting brother Bill Ripken. We talked about playing baseball together as well as the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation they started in honor of their father.
In addition to them sharing their baseball experience, they share some of the best lessons they learned from their dad/coach, as well as their best advice for sports parents and youth coaches today.
You can watch a video of the interview below. Enjoy!
What are some of your greatest lessons from your involvement playing sports, watching your kids play, or coaching sports?
photo credit: Rich Renomeron via photopin