“You and I share the belief that baseball is a great avenue to learning skills that can translate to all aspects of our life. I have shared your book with our foundation staff and encouraged them to incorporate the lessons into our character education program. Thank you for contributing to the development of healthy, happy children.”
Cal Ripken, Jr., Member, National Baseball Hall of Fame
"With style, wit and wisdom, this beautiful little book captures the essence of life lessons we all would like our children to understand and embrace. Each brief chapter stands alone, offering clear, practical advice and insight regarding the challenges and opportunities life throws our way."
Gail Reichlin, Founder and Executive Director, Parents Resource Network; and, Bestselling Author of The Pocket Parent
"This book has home run written all over it. Dr. Rotbart is a masterful writer and his baseball metaphors are brilliant. He has turned baseball into a philosophy of life. Every parent will want to give their baseball and softball players a copy of ON DECK for their birthday"
Barton D. Schmitt, M.D., Bestselling Author of Your Child’s Health
Reviews from amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com
KEEP BODY AND SOUL TOGETHER!
First off...I dearly love the game of baseball, have since I was 5 years old. Dr. Rotbart has shown me why the game has rooted itself to my inner core. These days, I've had to step back and look at the game from another view. I am a District Administrator for Little League Baseball in Arizona and oversee 18 leagues. After reading this book I purchased enough copies for the presidents of each league (plus some) in the hopes that these directors of our young athletes will do the same with their constituents. Nothing worthwhile in life is just handed to us, we must practice over and over so we are ready when it's our turn to make the right play or decision in our lives. This book teaches us as adults, as well as our children, how perfect practice makes perfect!
I actually bought 2 books. My son is 10 and he reads every evening.
He reads out loud to me and I follow along in my book. We discuss every chapter (short). The book is well written. Any child that likes baseball will certainly enjoy all the baseball talk. And the way life's lessons are presented are so much better than I could try to explain to my son. He understands them. We are now referring back to the book in conversation. I can say remember what the book said about curve balls?
Sometimes life will throw you a curve ball. It is all in how you handle the situation. We have not finished the book yet, but when we do I will keep them handy and have my son refer back to certain chapters when life can be sticky. I look forward every evening to sit down and read this book with him. I think it is awesome.
Lori L. Hloska(NPR, Florida)
THIS GAME IS A WINNER!
This is a wonderful book. It takes game situations familiar to all kids who play baseball and softball and turns them into a handbook for dealing with the real life situations that kids and adults have to deal with everyday. Dr. Rotbart's experience as a pediatrician and as a coach is evident on every page - he writes in an easy to understand, gentle style that kids and their parents will love. Have your kids read a few chapters each day of the season, or have them look up the actual events that happened on the ball field at the end of each game, for a healthy dose of life's wisdom from the baseball diamond. Just what the doctor ordered!
As parents, one of our goals is to teach our children how best to interact with their increasingly complex and sometimes unfriendly world. This book serves as a primer to both parent and child, using baseball rules as the platform. In its simplicity, it is an elegant guide to making our children better adults, and making us better parents. I loved Dr. Rotbart's book, and only hope to see more of his profound wisdom in future books. How I wish he could have been my parent! Thanks for educating me to the rules of baseball and life, all in one concise volume.
Books of baseball wisdom aren't unique - but this book is one-of-a-kind. Nowhere else can parents find so many important life lessons camouflaged in a language that kids love and speak fluently, the language of baseball. My kids read some chapters 5 or 6 times each because they thought it was "so cool" the way leading off from first base or tagging up had hidden meanings. This was the easiest way ever for my kids to fill 180 pages of their independent reading lists.
I discovered the perfect gift for a grandmother to give her baseball-playing grandkids. I don't know anything about bats or gloves, and I can't figure out any of the other paraphernalia my grandsons use when I watch their games. Until now, the best I could do was giving them a gift certificate to a sporting goods store. But, "The On Deck Circle of Life - 101 Lessons from the Dugout" is better than any gift certificate. If I made a list of everything I'd like my grandsons to grow up to become, the list would include most of the chapters of this book. I bought a copy of the book for myself, too - because the top half of every chapter is a little lesson in the game of baseball and helps me understand what the kids are doing out there. The bottom half of each chapter teaches kids how the game relates to the real world, so there's something in each chapter for grandparents, parents, and kids. I really like this part of Chapter 81, the "Home Field Advantage":
"As life challenges and confuses you, take comfort in, and take advantage of, your home field. Your parents and your brothers and sisters are your best friends, your most important teammates...No matter how bad the crisis, how afraid you feel, or how terrible you imagine the outcome, your family is your ultimate home field advantage. Find the comfort and stability of your familiar dugout and the friendly faces on the bleachers. You'll win many more games at home than on the road."
In my spare time, I am responsible for the ongoing success of the Madison, NJ LL Girls Softball program. Every spring, approximately 260 young ladies, from 7-16 years of age, play fastpitch softball. Thanks to the efforts of close to 100 volunteer coaches, our program gives the young ladies of our community the chance to learn to love a game they can play forever.
Following our spring program, 3 teams (14U, 12U, 10U) complete in summer tournaments and leagues. I've been coaching the 14U level for 15 years now. In the late spring, I received an email from Harley Rotbart telling me about his book. I read a few chapters online and thought this book might be a good learning tool for my summer softball team. I took a chance and ordered 16 copies.
You can imagine the look on my team's eyes when I handed out a book and reading assignment listing at our parents/players meeting. I created a reading list; with each player having 6 assigned chapters. I organized it so that before/after each game, everyone had to be ready to make a 1 minute presentation to the rest of the team. No one knew who I'd call on to present, so everyone had to do their reading. When I was asked "what happens if we aren't prepared when called on?", my answer was simple. "You'll enjoy that game from the bench. "
We made it through the entire book last summer. I asked my players if they'd be willing to write a book report I could post on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. A few of them took me upon on the offer. Their comments on the book follow:
Did you enjoy reading this book this summer? Why?
I liked this book because it was a very clear and straight forward way to learn more about softball, or to teach those who did not know the difference from a softball and a football. Unlike a lot of books about sports that have a bunch of different sports smushed together, this one explains everything there is to know about softball in a chapter by chapter sequence, often comparing events in softball to real life events. Cara M. 2nd Base.
I enjoyed reading this book this summer because I enjoyed how the author related softball to real life. I really taught me a lot. Julianna V. Catcher.
Yes- It helped prepare me for each game and made me realize how every aspect of the game of softball is related to life. It really got me thinking. Mackenzie G. Pitcher, SS.
Was being prepared to talk about this book a good way to begin/end our games?
Being prepared to talk about this book before or after games was a good way to review how to act in real game situations. Cara M.
This book was a great way to open and close games. IT really got you to understand the topic thoroughly in order to present what you read to the team. Julianna V.
Yes, sometimes the chapters that were talked about were situations in the game we just played. Mackenzie G.
What one thing did you read that really surprised you?
One chapter that really surprised me was the one about "The perfect game". It talked about how a perfect game would be when the pitcher throws no bad pitches, only strikes. The thing that surprised me was that the book said how the catcher was just a part of the perfect pitches as the pitcher, due to all the signs she gives. Cara M.
One thing that surprised me was that everything talked about softball and it was all related to life. That surprised me that everything in the book had an impact on life. Julianna V.
The "from the dugout" section of each chapter really surprised me because I never really thought of how softball could relate to life. It made the game seem more than just a bunch of girls throwing balls around. Mackenzie G.
Would you recommend this book to other players/coaches?
I would recommend this book to players that want to improve their knowledge of the game, or anyone who just wants to know what is going on when they watch their daughter, friend, etc. Cara M.
Yes, I would recommend this book because not only does it teach you about softball, it teaches you about life. Julianna V.
Yes, it improves the player's game and is a good coaching tool. Mackenzie G.
Did you forgive your coach for giving you a summer reading assignment?
Even though I was very surprised coach gave us a summer reading assignment, it was really not a big deal, and I actually learned a lot. Cara M.
Yes, I do forgive my coach because I thought the summer reading I would be a drag, but I ended up learning a lot of life lessons from the book and really enjoyed it. Julianna V
Yes - it wasn't that bad. Mackenzie G.
I'll be buying 15 copies of this book every summer in the years ahead. I found this a great way to prepare the team for the game ahead or to finish up after the game was over. Sometimes its difficult for a coach to find the right things to say. Taking this approach put my players in charge of the pre/post game talks! It worked very well.
Dave Carver (Madison, New Jersey Little League Softball)