Wednesday, May 2, 2012

They're Just Kids

Some of you have seen my FB page and have already heard this story, but I felt for those of you that didn't - it warrants repeating. My son started playing baseball this year so I became what I dreaded THE *insert various activity here* MOM. Practices, games, raffles, and let's not forget working the consession stand! Seeing my son have fun with his teammates however is worth everything; he laughs, jokes, and has a ball. I think it's even improved his sleep habits and behavior!

So there I sat Monday night, front row as always cheering for my son and his teammates. I decided to get up and walk around (makes me nervous when they're playing the field) so I of course missed seeing most of the play that came into question. That however is a mute point what happened next both saddened me, made me angry, made me proud, and made me happy - all at the same time. Now I come from a long line of baseball fanatics - my grandfather played for the Toledo Mudhens - a farm team for the Detroit Tigers, my brothers played ball, I played ball - you get the picture. I understand that there are gonna be plays you don't agree with and want to argue, but arguing and going ballistic are TWO totally different things. These coaches (from the opposing team) came out of the dugout cussing, screaming, and carrying on - to the point where one of them was actually ejected from the game! Keep in mind - this is LITTLE LEAGUE. and the parents were just as bad! It took almost 25 minutes for the game to resume(also keep in mind that the other team was winning by 3 runs). I was disgusted! Well that brought our team up and we got 3 outs and no runs. Next thing I know the announcer is stating that the game is being called on account of darkness, well that made me feel a little better because well I was getting cold anyway!

This next part is what made me happy and proud, my son's coach called the parents to inform them that although it had been said that the game was being called on account of darkness that he indeed was the one that called the game to an end because "I told them I'm done; I refuse to play a team whose coaches carry on like that in front of these kids. I don't ever want to play them again." he then proceeded to talk to the kids and tell them how well they did, how they were improving and listening well. Not once was mentioned the ground ball that my son missed, the kids that struck out, or the pitcher who walked in several runs. "The score doesn't matter" he said "What matters is that you guys are learning, what we teach you here you will carry on for the rest of your life. We will not emulate behavior from other teams like that, we will not put anyone down." "Only cheer for your own teammates, never put the other team down" this from the assistant coaches - one of whom I know because I went to school with him, but the other is only 16! His coach then went on to tell them how he always gives his players nicknames and started handing those out. Although we technically lost that game, I walked away feeling more like a winner, and more pride and faith in men again. That day I thanked GOD that my son was a Cardinal (which is ironic b/c my dad was a Cardinal fan) because these MEN - and I include ALL the coaches when I say that have provided a good example of what not only a baseball player should be like, but what we as human beings should be like.

I liken my son's team to The BadNews Bears because with the exception of 3 kids, the entire team is new to baseball. Plus they have kids with all kinds of  problems - there's my son with ADHD, one kid that's a little oversensitive, and a girl(YES we have a girl on our team!) that has some developmental disablitlies. Point being, they're not very good at the game but they are ACES at sportsmanship - I've watched them cheer each other, slaps on the backs, etc and I love it. Especially when I overheard the coach telling another parent "These are a great group of kids; I love coaching them". Now most coaches, and hell most parents would lose it with these kids, but their coaches have done nothing but encourage them.
As I said before I thank GOD that he got on this team because of not only the behavior of those coaches from that opposing team, but from what I've seen in other games as well. Coaches having fits, hell the kids they're coaching are having fits - slamming bats down, yelling at each other, and I have overheard ppl saying that there are some kids that shouldn't be playing because of their ability - or lack there of, or their developmental issues, and the list goes on. These are parents and adults that are supposedly "here for the kids" but with all the bickering, caddiness, and just overall disrespect that goes on I find they're here for themselves. They have to show how macho they are by having their kid or their team be the best(this goes for the women too). To these ppl I want to say "Get over the fact that you didn't make it to the big leagues - you're not a superstar so STOP trying to live vicariously thru your kids." these kids merely want to play ball.

It doesn't stop with just sports either, I just heard a story about Britain's Got Talent where a 9 year old broke down with stage fright. Or last year when on the same show a 13 year old collapsed because she was eliminated. WHY are ppl putting their kids into situations that they're not ready for? I mean the winner of America's Got Talent gets a Vegas contract and I've seen 9, 10, and 11 year olds on there. What 10 year old needs a Vegas act? Now am I saying that you shouldn't let your kids do anything?NO. However you do have to make sure that they are emotionally able to handle it. Don't push them because it's what YOU want; I have waited 10 years for my son to play ball because I myself love it. I have never pushed though; this was his idea because his friend from Boy Scouts plays. He also plays in the Minor Leagues even though he's old enough for the Majors - why? Because he's never played before and I, along with a couple of board members decided it would be a better fit for him and he's having a blast because he just wants to play ball - he doesn't care if he's in the Majors or the Minors, The Cardinals or The Dodgers, win or lose - he just wants to play. In closing I want to say kudos to my son, his team, and their coaches - you rock! I would also like to share a poem that a friend showed me - the timing of it was impecible. It is all about letting kids be kids and it is posted at a Little League field somewhere - to you I also say kudos!

He Is Just a Little Boy
By Chaplain Bob Fox

He stands at the plate
with his heart pounding fast.
The bases are loaded,
the die has been cast.
Mom and Dad cannot help him,
he stands all alone.
A hit at this moment
would send his team home.
The ball meets the plate,
he swings and he misses.
There's a groan from the crowd,
with some boos and some hisses.
A thoughtless voice cries,
"Strike out the bum."
Tears fill his eyes,
the game's no longer fun.
So open up your heart
and give him a break,
for it's moments like this,
a man you can make.
Please keep this in mind
when you hear someone forget,
He is just a little boy,
and not a man yet.


  1. What an amazing experience. It's sad that some people take these things so seriously. Melissa sent me over from her blog fest. Enjoy your work!

  2. Traveled over from Melissa's blog! I have four boys and they all play sports. I don't know why some people have to be so ugly.