It is that time of year again ... the yard needs cutting and the flowers are blooming and ...
the baseballs are flying.
Baseball is the only sport my boys play and I dearly love to watch them play, but I have a terrible tendency to get a little too involved in the game and if I am not careful, my boys just might get a little embarrassed by my ... ahem, enthusiasm.
Don't get me wrong, I really don't care if their teams win or lose. I want them to play their best and I want them to learn good sportsmanship and I want them to give 100 percent all the time. Most of all, I really want them to enjoy playing the game.
There are a few things that really, really bother me, though. Some about the boys themselves, but more about the adults involved in the game.
The one thing that bothers me about the boys is when they don't seem to be paying attention to the game. Case in point, my littlest one was playing in the grass instead of paying attention to what was going on around him last night. Yes, I know he is only six years old and I had to keep reminding myself of that fact while trying to resist the urge to remind him of what he's supposed to be doing.
Anything the boys might do to get my feathers ruffled would be mild compared to my two biggest complaints about playing rec league ball. One is coaches who get way too uptight about the game and the other is umpires who can't or won't be consistent in their calls.
Twice in the last two weeks, JW's team has played teams from other cities that aren't regular league teams ... these teams are select tournament teams that are just using these unsuspecting league teams for practice. That in itself wouldn't be so bad except that the coaches for these teams are incredibly intense and they are quite adept at intimidating and frustrating our players by questioning calls and trash talking to their players while ours are listening. The point is, that I don't mind losing to a superior team, if they would just let the boys play ball, but when a grown man makes it his aim to get young boys upset just so his team can win, it hacks me off.
I have to hand it to JW's coach, though. Last night, when our pitcher was about to fall apart because the other coach kept yelling balk, our coach told him that he didn't care how many times they called balk or how many runs scored, his only desire was for the kid to have fun. Despite the fact that we were losing, and that we have other pitchers who might have been able to do better, he just let the boy finish out the game and then congratulated him on how he played. That little boy's feelings were more important to him than the outcome of the game. Then, after the game, they were able to talk to the umpire and get a lesson on how to pick off a runner on third without getting called for a balk.
I want my kids to be able to walk away from every game and say that they gave it their all, and that they played with integrity, even if they are still learning what that means. In the end, it really isn't whether you win or lose and it really is about how you play the game ... now if all the coaches could just learn that truth, it would be much easier to teach it to the kids!
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