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A less than perfect baseball game teaches a valuable parenting lesson

Home plate umpire Jim Joyce, left, shakes hands with Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga
Home plate umpire Jim Joyce, left, shakes hands with Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Much has been said in the past few days about the behavior of Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga and umpire Jim Joyce teaching children about good sportsmanship. 

While it is true that there is a lot to learn from this situation for the Bismarck youth that play at the new Scheel's Baseball Complex, we as parents can learn much from this situation as well.

With two outs in the ninth inning, Armando Galarraga was preparing to celebrate a very rare, perfect game. Cleveland Indians player, Jason Donaldson hit  a grounder that was cleanly fielded by first baseman Miguel Cabrera, and he made an accurate throw to Galaragga who was covering the bag. The ball arrived in time, but Joyce called the runner safe.

Detroit fans, and the rest of the team were clearly disappointed. And even the umpire was distraught. "I just cost that kid a perfect game." he said in the umpires' locker room after the game.

And then, Jim Joyce, an umpire who knew he was going to have to endure days, if not weeks, months and years of criticism for a call he knew to be bad, did the very thing we as parents can learn from.

He admitted his mistake.

Joyce asked to speak to Galaragga after the game. Galaragga appreciated the gesture as he had just been denied what would have been the first perfect game in Detroit Tigers history.

"You don't see and umpire after the game come out and say, 'Hey, let me tell you I'm sorry,' " Galaragga said. "He felt really bad. He didn't even shower."

We can teach our kids all kinds of things from this situation: respect for authority, good sportsmanship, and not throwing a temper tantrum; but if we as parents cannot learn the larger lesson, then all of the lessons for our kids are lost. 

As parents we must make calls as we see them, but acknowledge that we too are human and make mistakes. When we can model this humility and honesty to our children we all come out winners.

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