Inside Pitch Magazine, May/June 2019

From the Publisher: The Gift

By Keith Madison, Publisher of Inside Pitch Magazine and Chairman of the ABCA Board of Directors

Keith MadisonRecently, I received a couple of books in the mail from fellow American Baseball Coaches Association board member, Bob Bennett. Bob Bennett was a terrific baseball coach and he’s passionate about the game. Even though he’s been retired from Fresno State University for several years, you can’t be around Coach Bennett more than five minutes before he’s sharing knowledge about pitching mechanics, the proper way to throw the curve or perhaps the finer points of receiving as a catcher. He’s not only a coaching legend, he’s also an author, a poet and a baseball treasure.

One of the books I received from Coach Bennett is, Words & Rhythms of Baseball. It contains one of my favorite baseball poems, “The Gift.” I’ve used it in several speeches and baseball clinic presentations. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have:

The Gift

Three young players asked God for talent
This they would use in sports so gallant
Each wanted strength of arm, power and speed
With these great gifts they would certainly succeed

The first player was granted his request
These were gifts that God had blessed
But this player drifted and wanted more
He succumbed to greed and began to explore

He tried alcohol, drugs, parties and more
His destiny was failure and a life to deplore
He failed to use the gift received
Family and teammates, they were deceived

The second player was also blessed
But he was lazy and soon regressed
He took for granted his special skills
And became complacent with simple drills

Desire was missing from his game
His play was inconsistent and never the same
Though he had the tools to build his dream
His lack of hustle spoiled his scheme

The third player was not granted his wish from God
But desire and determination were his to plod
He often wondered why he was denied
But still he pressed on and really tried

Finally, in prayer, he thought he heard
From God the final word
“You my son, I blessed to reach
And now you live to teach.”

“I could have granted your first approach
But then you not have been a coach.”

-Bob Bennett

If you are coaching, you too have received this “gift.” Inside Pitch Magazine is all about helping you develop this gift. As I have said before, our goal at Inside Pitch Magazine is to encourage, inform and even inspire the coach, the serious player and baseball fans.

We love to hear from our readers. Let us know what you think about our publication and, also, let us know if there is a coach or baseball “guru” that you would enjoy hearing from. We will make every effort to feature them in our magazine.

Inside Pitch Magazine is published six times per year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt association founded in 1945. Copyright 2020 American Baseball Coaches Association. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without prior written permission. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, it is impossible to make such a guarantee. The opinions expressed herein are those of the writers.