Before getting into the specifics of what I learned about winning more strategically in life at the 2016 Little League World Series, I want to thank my dad for showing me how dreaming big and how enjoying the feel-good-effect that comes with checking off life’s little “bucket list” items make a big difference. Looking back, attending the first two days of this 10-day tournament of champions in person for the first time was something my dad and I will never forget; it was magical in so many ways!!!
For as long as I can remember, every August my dad and I are glued to the television, enamored by all of the smile-worthy things that the Little League World Series brings to millions of households worldwide.
For those who don’t know what this event actually is, think of it this way: The Little League World Series operates just like the World Cup for soccer, but the participants are not grown-ups or professional athletes; rather the athletes are 11, 12, and 13 year-old boys (FYI, occasionally a girl slips into the mix). These groups of kids come together from 9 different regions of the world to accomplish one thing: to be crowned the champs!
The the team representing the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States was the victor of the 2016 LLWS; a team who played their regular season schedule in Maine-Endwell, NY, which is about a three-hour drive from New York City. This particular group has been playing together for three years, and when the clock stopped ticking, they finished the summer season with a 23-0 record to win it all.
Although my dad and I created all sorts of memories that will last a lifetime, what we talked about most on our six-hour drive back to Boston, MA were the little things that the successful teams did, and what some of the other teams didn’t do… This is the stuff that us “Gosselin Guys” love to analyze!
1. Strength There IS NOT Always in Numbers – If I were to be honest here, at the youth level of athletics, a team is usually only going to be as successful as its top 2 or 3 players. However, when you compete in life with the “best of the best” – like the kids competing at the Little League World Series do each year – there is nothing ‘usual’ about it.
If you are the manager for one of these teams, you best look at the match-ups, maximize your talent to create an advantage, and welcome a little luck to ‘boost’ your decision making along every now and then… or you’ll be packing your bags to head home before you know it.
Yes, there was A TON of talented players at the 2016 LLWS. However, I noticed that the New York team only pitched three kids during the entire series, which is not the ‘usual’. Coach Joe Mancini took at very stern approach with his pitchers and expected them to succeed and hold themselves accountable to the highest level of success.
2. People Love To Follow Passionate Leaders – One of the biggest things that has “hooked” my dad and I to the Little League World Series is the team managers’ style of coaching that comes out once the competition heats up. I consider my dad to be my #1 coach., and he He has so much wisdom to share with me about what he calls the science of achievement and art of fulfillment. If this doesn’t make you tear up, I don’t know what will.
If you aspire to be a better leader, be passionate; speak your mind (even if it’s not the popular thing to do); believe in your teammates will come through when it matters most; build others up; expect success; learn from your failures; find fun in every moment and situation.
3. “Little Hinges” Swing Momentous Doors – As I get older, I’m seeing the Pareto Principle (a.k.a., The 80/20 Rule) more clearly, and how it shows up to guide almost every single decision and outcome that happens in life. To simplify this point, I’d like to share a few ways the 80/20 affects your day, then I’m going to share what I saw in South Williamsport.
If you study the traffic patterns in your community, you’ll learn that 20% of the roads have 80% of the traffic. If you look at a tree, you’ll see that 20% of the branches have 80% of the leaves. If you look at your own wardrobe, you’ll see that you wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. I could keep going, but I think you get the point now 🙂
I learned that 20% of the players pitched for each team (4-5 players of the 13 on the roster). I also would venture to say that 80% of the merchandise purchased from this year’s LLWS came from 20% of the teams (I say this because most kids at home buy their merchandise after the winner is crowned).
Finally, 80% of the fans that travel to watch the series live come to support 20% of the teams playing. FYI, this happens because there are always a few teams that live within a few hours distance, which makes traveling less of a burden.
In closing, I will 100% be attending the Little League World Series again in 2017 because the energy is high… the desire to win is electrifying… everybody brings out their best… and I get to learn another round of life-changing lessons that will last a lifetime. If you’re looking for a REALLY cool family trip, you must consider stopping by South Williamsport for this event – thank me later 🙂
To being better than you were before you read this blog post,
P.S. – If you haven’t downloaded my book “13 Ways To Put Service Before Self” yet, please fill out the form on my website and you will instantly access it. FYI, I’d love to read your review on my FB page.