“He’s OUT!” are two very hard words to hear after you’ve watched your son or daughter run their little hearts out trying to beat the ball back to home plate. Sometimes though its harder and more frustrating to hear the parents in the stands, you know the kind:) The kind that get out to the local little league fields and forget that they aren’t at Wrigley Field! Oh yeah you say, that kind! Oh and then there’s always the “Winning is Everything Coach” they’re always a joy to be stuck with for a whole good, part of your summer! These are the kind that keep stats on little kids and then decide that certain games are just too important to let little Jr. play in, after all he just isn’t “there” yet. Where exactly is “there” for a say, nine year old or any child for that matter! Jr. here comes to play one evening and his mama promised him ice cream if he hits it out to the outfield, so guess what Jr. hits it out there every time! Then comes the next night of baseball and Jr. has been swimming ALL afternoon with his friends and you know what he just isn’t that into the game tonight, so he doesn’t hit as well as the night before…. HEY COACH, HOW’S YOUR STAT BOOK WORKING OUT FOR YA NOW??!! Hahaha!!!!!
Whatever happened to “for the love of the game”? I’m afraid to say it…but I think that concept is long gone! It seems to me that parents these days are way too worried about training the next major leaguer when first and foremost we should be teaching them how to love the game. Without that they’ve got nothin’. Don’t get me wrong here, I know not all parents are like this and one could argue that the ones that are…well at least they’re involved right? Right,you know what, I’ve had my own moments of getting wrapped up in it all! Sometimes I get so sad for the kids out on the field and what must be going on in their innocent, little heads. Picture this…you are, I don’t know say 9 years old. The kid up to bat has smacked the ball, you stop the ball while playing the field. Now, just sit there for a second and let how that child must be feeling sink in…Okay, back to the play at action…In you’re own little 9 yr old head you’re thinkin’ ok now where would the best place be to throw this ball? I gotta get the out or I’ll let my teammates and coaches down. Then all of a sudden you are brought back down to earth from the enormous amount of screaming going on in the stands and the dug out. You get so confused…Do I listen to the parents in the stands
telling me screaming at me to “THROW THE BALL” or do I listen to my teammates who are hollering “TAG THE RUNNER” or should I do what my coaches are saying and “HOLD THE BALL” oh wait, I’m so confused…..who is saying what?!?! Talk about stressful, right?!? Imagine how much pressure these poor children are under being out there playing a game in front of all of these parents, friends, brothers, aunts, uncles… What’s even worse is when the little pitcher out on the mound hears the other parents on the other team screaming “Don’t swing at that one, geez that’s a terrible pitch. Wait for a good one” or how bout when they hear the parents from their own team yelling “Come on don’t just give it to him, make him work for it” How can these kids ever learn and get better when we are criticizing so much from the stands. Sure, that’s the way it’s going to be when they get older but that’s a looong time from now. Right now we need to make sure we are helping them build a strong foundation to stand on, one that they will be able to get back up on when they get knocked down. Believe me, they are under enough pressure from themselves, they don’t need adults adding to it.
I’ve found that there are all kinds of parents out at the ballpark! You’ve got your “My kid’s the best” kind or “Is the season over yet” kind, the “coach knows nothing” kind or the “my kid needs to build confidence” kind. I think I fall somewhere in the middle, I’m a little bit of all of these kinds! There are times when I find myself getting frustrated with the positioning of the kids or the batting order, but I have to remind myself that I’m not the one volunteering my personal time to practice with these little munchkins and maybe just maybe they’re seeing something I’m not. I’ll go ahead and take this opportunity to thank all you, that have volunteered your time and endured endless conversations with parents telling you how it should be done! Thank you for trying your best to coach our children.
It’s hard being a parent and it’s even harder being a parent to a competitive child. How do you teach a child that winning isn’t everything, when we live in a world that screams IT IS! If anyone knows the answer to that one, please fill me in:) I’m starting to see problems with mine in particular wanting to argue with the umps. As I sit and watch this I’m thinking to myself…where is this coming from? And then I tune into the stands (Snookums and I sit in lawn chairs away from the craziness amongst our own craziness) and I hear parents screaming at the umps “YOU NEED GLASSES” or “THATS A TERRIBLE CALL” well there ya go, how can we expect our children to act any different out there when that’s the example they are getting from the adults watching the game? I’ll admit, I’ve been guilty of this myself. But darn it, sometimes you just plain want your baby to be called SAFE and not out:) Snookums and I have had many conversations with ours about calling out the umps. First off we don’t know what they are seeing from their vantage point. Secondly, bad call or not, the ump has the last word (him or the rule book!). You know, I think a lot of us parents are misunderstood. I do think that sometimes our excitement for them gets confused with being overbearing. But, there is a fine line we’re walking….you’re either living through your kids or for them and we’ve got to know the difference between the two because it can get confusing. If you are living through them eventually that’s gonna catch up to you. One of these days Jr. isn’t going to want to play anymore because all the fun has been sucked out of it like a hungry tick attached to your nether regions! Keep in mind, you had your chance, let your kids have theirs. As a parent I want my children to go on adventures of their own. Yes, I want to be apart of it but I have to remember it’s not my adventure anymore. I stand firm in the idea that if we don’t teach them to love the game first they’ll end up hating it. So as summer baseball season comes to an end and we head out to watch the last of the tournaments, lets all try and keep in mind…it’s just a game, it’s suppose to be fun and when it stops being fun then that’s your sign to stop playing.
Thank you for taking time to read this! If you can relate to this or know someone who can then please SHARE IT with everyone!!!! I love hearing your thoughts so comment away! I hope you all have a truly blessed day!
***Don’t get your undies in a wad this post is about no one in particular, it’s just something that has been weighing on my heart and it’s more or less a summary of all of our experiences thus far with our kids and team sports! Good or bad we’ve learned valuable lessons and I have no hard feelings toward anyone 🙂
***I promise I’m not trying to judge anyone and their actions… try being the operative word.
***I DO NOT agree with the whole everyone gets a trophy concept either…just to be clear:)
***Most of the parents I have had the pleasure of sharing my summers with have been great examples for our children!