When You Are Called ‘The Least Valuable’


A couple of years ago I saw a column written in a major publication that was titled, “The Least Valuable Player On Every Major League Baseball Team.” I didn’t read it out of principle. The title brought me back to a terrible experience I had as a young man many years ago.

It was on one of those hot summer afternoons when the thunderstorms roll through the countryside and my baseball team was waiting the storm out under some trees. I had just turned 15 and as one of the younger players on the team, I spent a fair amount of time on the bench. To this day I don’t know why one of our assistant coaches did it, but as we sat bored under the trees waiting, he began giving out an award for the “Least Valuable Player.” He started by naming the least valuable hitter which he gave to a kid named Timmy. He then gave an award for least valuable fielder, again to Timmy. Then he said, “Winner of the ‘Least Valuable Player Award,’ again, Timmy. He wins the Triple Crown of being the least valuable to the team.”

All through this presentation there was nervous laughter from the boys, and for me, a bit of tension that perhaps I would be the recipient of one of the awards. I felt sorry for Timmy and knew that it had to cut to the core of his soul. Yet, I couldn’t muster the courage to defend him. I can still feel the sting of the experience and I wasn’t even the one mocked.

Why do we have to be so mean? Why do we have to belittle others? Do we really need to be so cruel to others! What does it say about us when we do such things? What does it mean when we sit silently by when cruelty is so prevalent around us. Can’t we just ’make nice’ and follow the words of the Savior and be loving to all. Everyone is of value, both here on earth and in the eternities.
I let Timmy down that day under the trees. It’s been over 40 years and I still feel the cruelty of it all. I hope I would do better if a similar situation came my way. Perhaps I’ve grown up. Perhaps!

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