With Little League baseball season set to unfold in the coming months, the Internet is re-circulating an important reminder: Be kind to the boys.
An inspirational poem by the late Chaplain Bob Fox entitled "He's Just A Little Boy" surfaced on Facebook last year and inspired Farmers Insurance agent Joel McKinnon to start the #everyfield movement. The nationwide effort aims to encourage young baseball players instead of bringing them down.
A sign bearing the poem resurfaced on Reddit last night where thousands of users upvoted it.
The poem reads:
He stands at the plate with his heart pounding fast. The bases are loaded, the die has been cast. Mom and Dad cannot help him, he stands all alone. A hit at this moment would send his team home. The ball meets the plate, he swings and he misses. There's a groan from the crowd, with some boos and some hisses.
A thoughtless voice cries, "Strike out the bum." Tears fill his eyes, the game's no longer fun. So open up your heart and give him a break, for it's moments like this, a man you can make. Please keep this in mind when you hear someone forget, He is just a little boy, and not a man yet.
The movement began last May when McKinnon decided to share the poem from the Farmers' official Facebook page. The photo quickly went viral with roughly 7,000 likes and shares.
The Farmers team created 1,500 flyers with the poem, and local agents posted them at youth baseball fileds around the country.
"I have always been a believer in positive reinforcement and trying to find the good in every situation," McKinnon wrote in a blog post on his site. "We may not believe it now, and it may seem easier to point the finger, but a pat on the back and a few 'atta boy's' can make a huge difference in a child's life."
Earlier this year, hockey parents got a similar reminder from a sign posted at an Illinois ice rink telling them to "chill out."