For some, participating in the Harrisonburg Little League Association has become a family tradition. For Preston Knight, currently a head coach in the farm league, the HLLA has been a consistent part of his life dating back to childhood, when he was a player in the Little League, Babe Ruth League and the Pony League.
“I have fond memories of Little League. That was my peak performance in terms of my ability to help the team win. I was always a lot larger than the other kids and had an intimidation factor when I was pitching,” recalled Knight.
Knight’s success in the league paved the way for him to continue his career after progressing through the HLLA. He was a member of his high school’s varsity baseball team and continued playing up until his graduation.
One of the main contributing factors as to why Knight loves playing and coaching the game so much is because of how important teamwork is, along with the thrill of seeing his players succeed. He also believes that teamwork is an important dynamic that carries over into multiple walks of life. Especially when you get a job, whether it’s a large or small company, Knight believes you always have to be a team player.
“It’s the best when teamwork is organic, and you see your team supporting the success of everyone else around them. Having the common belief that your teammates getting more hits will lead to you getting to hit more, leads to a vested interest in your teammates doing well. That’s a big thing that you can’t get if you don’t play sports, it doesn’t matter if you’re doing great if you are just there to enjoy the success of your friends for the hour. Overall, it’s really exciting to see them come together as a team.”
Knight believes his son has already gained a lot in his short time with the HLLA. Dawson, who is seven years old has enjoyed playing baseball so far. “I kept my fingers crossed that hopefully he would like it somewhat. I didn’t want to force anything, but I strongly encouraged baseball because it was my main sport growing up. I guess I did a good enough job because he liked it enough; even as a two-year-old smacking a ball around in the driveway with a waffle ball bat or throwing a tennis ball against a wall.”
Baseball has been a breath of fresh air for the Knight family. In a culture where video games and electronics are in constant use, the HLLA has given Dawson a few guaranteed hours a week where he is outside and remaining active. “He does the Fortnite dance, but he has not touched the game himself. Hopefully that is many years down the road,” joked Knight.
At the end of the day, Knight believes that the only thing that matters is that the children are enjoying their experiences in the little league. He hopes that someday his son and other kids can return to the league like he has now and reflect on their experiences with the HLLA, while also giving back to the organization that is responsible for many of his fondest childhood memories.
HLLA Story is an official blog site of the Harrisonburg Little League Association. All content is managed by Bluestone Communications, a student-run public relations agency at James Madison University. Please contact Isaac Woo (firstname.lastname@example.org), faculty director of Bluestone Communications, if you have any questions about the blog or the stories.