Friday, June 10, 2005


"One of the beautiful things about baseball is that every once in a while you come into a situation where you want to, and where you have to, reach down and prove something." - Nolan Ryan

For kids, playing little league baseball (or softball) is a rite of passage. It helps form and in some ways cements how we think about the world: the essentialness of fair umpires; the embarrassment of parent-fans off the deep end; the tricks for counting pitches; powering through a swing; calling the catch on a pop fly; and, the best and biggest thing, the importance of team work.

If it is done right, coaches' emphasize good team work, and in doing so help the players understand how to acknowledge and value each member of their team. And because most little league teams, particularly in small towns, are made up of a wide range of kids they really do learn how to look at each member of their team for strengths and not weaknesses. While the kids and coaches work very hard to help the everyone improve on their weaknesses.

What could be more inspiring than to realize the basics of the major management principle of continuous quality improvement is being practically applied through the good coaching of a little league team? -- W. Edward Deming should be smiling.

Iowa, like many parts of the country is a great place for baseball, with plenty of minor league games, high school season enders and the inspiring rookie little league games. The play is different, but the sentiments and importance of team work are still the same.

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