Thursday, July 2, 2009
Can someone tell me when the bad guys hijacked little league? I mean, seriously!! I know that we had over-zealous coaches and big mouth parents in "our day" but it just doesn't seem like the same thing anymore! Gone are the chants of "Hey batter, batter!" and in come the chants (from the stands, mind you) of "Get your glove dirty!" or "Get your heads out of your butts" and my favorite, said to my son (I know that I'm more sensitive when the criticism is thrown at my boy) "Just because you're throwing strikes doesn't mean you get to admire your pitching!"
Who did it? When did it happen? Little league used to be someplace that your parents dropped you off at in order for you to PLAY A GAME of baseball/softball with your friends. Sure, my parents made it to every game but I only knew they were there when they handed me my thermos of water. (Notice that I didn't say my 2 liter bottle of G2 or whatever!) Only then did I realize that parents were even there! Well, there was this one time that my mom stood up to the little league bully dad and we saw the shouting and then I knew they were there but that is the only time that I remember them being there.
Now we have moms and dads, well mostly dads, that have put their hopes in their sons and daughters making it big! Are they hoping for the pros or is it merely a scholarship hope? And have they forgotten that these are just kids that haven't even made it to high school yet? We have parents that keep their own book on the sidelines so as to be at the ready when "the scouts call" and we have parents that just feel it's necessary to fill every moment with their constant comments and criticisms of every kid (except their own, naturally) Who hijacked little league?
What's the answer? I'm all for the contract policy. This is handed to each and every parent stating what is expected of them at practices and games. It demands that the only person that instructs the kid during little league at the park is, gasp, the coach(es)! It states that breaking any of the rules of the contract will result (not could) in their being asked to leave the stands. Go sit in the outfield or in your car or, better yet, go home and LET THE KIDS PLAY! Don't get me wrong, I have had my fair share of bad coaches but I allowed them to be the coach anyway! I trusted that I raised a relatively smart child and that they can figure out what is working for them as they got older.
Gone are the "Little League Ball Rats". You know, the kid that drags his mitt onto the edge of his handle bars of his rusty bike and just goes to the park 3 hours before his/her game and stays 3 hours after their game. This certainly couldn't happen now with the $50 bat bags filled with complete catching gear, 3 or 4 $200 bats, their glove, their catcher's mitt, their first baseman's glove, and several right out of the box baseballs. I'm not criticizing those that have bought these things for their kids I just wonder when and where does it end? Ok, here we go, but whatever happened to using the same ratty ball time and time again and using the bat that is in the coach's bag? If I buy a $250 DeMarini bat can you guarantee me that my kid is going to get a hit? I know that there is a science that we didn't have in "our day" and maybe it does insure more hits or further hit balls by using the latest in bats but for what purpose? Again, is this for the scouting report?
I miss little league! I miss it for my kids! I know they aren't suffering for it because, ultimately, they are playing a game with their friends but it's changed and it saddens me. I'm hoping that by the time that Keagan is playing little league I will have gotten all of this out of my system and that I am able to just watch and clap and eat the dang popcorn from the concession stand. Then, I'd like to just get in my mini-van and go home with no need to dissect every call, every pitch, every at bat, every opponent. Who hijacked little league?