Grad students pitch in
U.Va. graduate students are making a difference in the lives of Charlottesville kids by teaching them about baseball.
Photo by Peggy Harrison.
“There are profound lessons in sports, especially about dealing with success and failure,” said Nichols, a doctoral candidate in American history who played Little League baseball growing up and was a catcher in college at Harvard and Wesleyan. “Kids with problems in their lives have important lessons to learn at this age: Don’t give up. Keep trying. It takes practice. It takes hard work.”
Nichols is one of a dozen or so University grad students reaching out to city children, primarily African Americans, who would like to participate in Little League baseball but have a hard time getting to practice. Through Practice Partners, started last year by Brian Balogh, associate professor of history, and the McIntire Little League, kids who need transportation are matched with grad students with cars and a love of baseball.
“It’s something I believe in,” said Nichols. “It’s fun. Besides, these interactions can make a difference in the kids’ lives.”
The U.Va. students reminded the kids that even the best baseball players fail seven out of 10 times. If they quit after the first six failures, they’d stay failures. Instead, they step up to the plate whenever their name is called, eyeball the pitcher and swing hard.