For the Love of the Game

“You suck.” Okay, so he didn’t literally say it, but I’m sure every kid felt it as he walked away from last night’s game.  It went a little something like this:

We won, but that was the ugliest game I’ve ever seen!
I should be throwing in all kinds of cuss words right now!
Not one of you look like you know how to play ball!
I am disappointed in everybody here!
There is not one thing we couldn’t do better!
Some of your parents and grandparents will say good game.  It was not a good game!
Go home and come back tomorrow worth something!
There’s more to baseball than just winning.

He was on to something with that last one!  I’m just a little confused what his more is.  By the way, this was just the intro.  I’ll spare you the rest of the ugliness.  I watched as this group of 8 and 9yr olds (2 of them mine) sat on the grass, scared to move, heads held down.  I felt at any moment John Quinones was going to come out with his hidden cameras and ask why no one was sticking up for these kids.  It was a What Would You Do? moment and I stood there.  Sure glad he didn’t catch that on camera.

You see, I’ve already said something once – in a not so tactful manner.  I’ll spare you the ugliness of that too!  I really don’t want to be that mom.  Yeah, you know the one I’m talking about!  I also don’t want to let someone ruin my sons’ love for the game.  Right now, at this age, it is a game.  It should be fun.  Yes, they’re going to mess up….they’re 9!  It’s fine.  They’re still learning.  There’s no fame or fortune on the line.  And although Owen thinks he’ll “play 2 years for the Cubs then move on to SWAT,” they’re not in the majors; they’re kids.

I’m no coach, but as a teacher I’ve learned you can’t yell too many kids straight.  They have to be invested in what they’re doing and invested in you.  Belittling them won’t get you far.  Is it really worth it?  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes kids need a wake up call…my boys especially!  I don’t mind a little tough love.  Sit ’em on the bench, make ’em do push ups….but respect them.  Teaching can be hard and I’m sure coaching is no different.  There are so many opinions and unpleasable parents to please, but the bottom line is: it’s about the kids.  Coach them, guide them, respect them, because there really is more to baseball than just winning.  And as much as I love watching my boys play, there’s more to life than baseball!

This summer, I have witnessed more drama at the ballpark than a Jerry Springer show.  (Is he even on the air anymore?)  Parents fighting with coaches, coaches fighting with other coaches, coaches fighting with their own coaches, everyone fighting with the refs…it’s crazy!  I was hoping fall ball would be a little more laid back.  I just want to curl in my blanket with some hot chocolate, swat mosquitoes, and cheer for my boys.  After all, it’s fall ball!  This is a rec league, everybody pays – everybody plays, neighborhood park.  How about we let the kids play, learn from their experiences, and have fun?  Could we please get Joe Maddon here to coach these kids?

As you know, I’m on a mission to simplify things in my life.  Little league should not make the list of things that need simplified —- but, it does!  I’m lucky I had boys; no way could I handle that Toddlers with Tiaras drama!  I think I’ll just sit in the peaceful outfield with my hot chocolate, tell my sons they did great, and pray that Cubs recruit Owen before SWAT…after all, I hear they throw a pretty mean pajama party!
Cubs Pajama Party

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