Friday April 7 2017
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All In

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It's a simple catch phrase used by leaders to let everyone know that to accomplish any team goal, every single member of the organization has to have the same mindset. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle uses the phrase often.

After nearly two decades of losing, Hurdle said that the Pirates would need everyone to be "all in" if they were ever going to climb out the cellar of the National League Central Division. Hurdle inherited basically the same team that lost over 100 games the year before, so his announcement prior to the season did not receive much fanfare. But once the season got underway, the skipper's actions not only backed up that phrase, they spoke louder than his words.

Those actions are a lesson for parents as they coach youth sports and raise their children. Hurdle is direct in letting his players know when they meet or exceed expectations. The players have responded well, talking about how their manager's praise and support uplifts them.

Even more importantly, Hurdle, has been just as direct with his players when they've failed to meet those expectations. He's benched players, or respectfully called them out when they were out of line – even when it's been difficult to do so.

We can learn an awful lot by watching a professional coach encourage—and discipline—multi-millionaire athletes. How Hurdle has handled rookies and veterans alike can give us teachable moments when we talk to our kids. As parents and coaches, we can set similar expectations to our youngsters at the outset of the season. When dealing with the success and failures of those kids entrusted to our care, it is appropriate to be supportive and firm, in good times and in bad times. We need to have our girls and boys "all in," so the team has the best chance of winning; and more importantly, so our kids learn to become good teammates: accountable for everything they do, from the first day of practice to the final game of the season.

Here's hoping we recognize those opportunities to lead our kids and help them grow up as responsible teammates on the field, in school, at home, and in the workplace for the rest of their lives.

And here's hoping we can take them to a playoff game at PNC Park before they head off to college! Because as a dad—and as a fan—I am "all in."