Winners, Losers, and Popsicles

In life, in America, and in sports, competition matters. There’s no getting around it—trying your best and winning are important. We want people to learn how to win in a respectful way and lose with dignity. These are crucial life skills that can be taught through sports. In life, things are not simply given to you; you have to earn them. That’s something we strive to teach athletes at Ignite every da

At Ignite, we incorporate various activities to foster competition. For instance, we organize live at-bats where pitchers and hitters compete just like they would in a baseball or softball game. We also have hitting competitions, such as the Home Run Derby, where the winner receives a popsicle while the loser doesn’t. These derbies are designed to give all athletes an equal chance to win. For example, even if I were to compete against a 10-year-old in a home run derby, I could lose because the rules require hitting the ball 20 feet below my maximum distance to get a home run.

Additionally, we hold personal competitions at Ignite. If a new athlete in our program can perform 10 perfect rack turns in a row, they also earn a popsicle. Popsicles not only bring joy but also serve as a simple way for us to show athletes that we appreciate their hard work. Winning a popsicle is meant to feel good and hopefully motivates athletes to push themselves to become better tomorrow than they are today.

On the other hand, losing and not receiving a popsicle may be disappointing. However, it’s an essential part of life, and athletes need to learn how to cope with failure. Winning and losing are both natural aspects of life, and we believe it’s our responsibility as coaches to help athletes navigate the ups and downs, both in sports and beyond.

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