It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been over fifty days since I last wrote on my blog. I must admit that a main cause for the absence stems from the fact that my work days have been filled with… Work! My planner and monitor now each have a Post-It with the word “Focus” written on them. It’s not that I wasn’t focusing before, however I was allowing the temptation of what I wanted to do overtake the need to do what I was (am) being paid to do. Strangely, I rarely find myself counting down the minutes until leaving time, and my work day and week often fly by.
Many evenings and Saturdays in the past month-and-a-half have been filled with little league baseball. Dave and I took on coaching roles for Thing 2’s team and the experience has been anything but dull. In a league that is supposed to be teaching the children good-sportsmanship, the basics of baseball and an overall love and appreciation for the game, we find it amazing how other parents and coaches can become monsters in the ball-park.
Our team had a record of 1-13-1 in the regular season. It was dis-heartening to the coaches, parents and kids that we did so poorly, especially considering how close many of the games were. When the tournament came around, however, we won the first two games. All of a sudden we went from the back of the field to tied for first. The opposing teams’ coaches were pissed. They walked onto the field planning to beat us and as soon as we got ahead became ruthless.
For example, we have an autistic boy on our team. He has made TREMENDOUS progress this year, and is now responsible for many runs and RBI’s. Unfortunately he gets upset when he gets an out, and has sat out for innings after an out due to his upset state. The board of the baseball league has been aware of the situation, and has told us since the beginning that it is our responsibility to teach him, work with him, and also watch out for the safety of all players. And that is what we have done.
Unfortunately opposing coaches aren’t always sympathetic, especially when they are losing. I must mention that our league is for 6-8 year olds, a far cry from the competitive high-school teams. This is the first year a lot of these kids haven’t played tee-ball and is still parent (coach)-pitch. So, when our special needs player is having a rough inning, it should be no-big deal to have him sit out and put the next batter in. The other coaches want us to take an out, however. It’s appalling to me that they can be so obsessed with the game and winning that they won’t give another team a break, as we would do for them.
You’ll be happy to know that Dave and I have been the cool coaches this year, both temper-wise and fun-with-kid-wise. I’ve worn my baseball cap inside-out with the kids in effort to turn the game around, and at yesterday’s game we wore eye-black with our team to try to intimidate the other side. Yesterday, however, the game was babysat by league officials due the tremendously bad temper of our opposing coach. One of our other coaches removed himself from the game before he was tempted to punch him. Yes, it was that bad.
We entered yesterday’s game, our third in the tournament, ready to play the team who ranked #1 after the regular season. We did NOT enjoy playing them the first time due to their jack-hole of a head coach. Dave and I have already decided we will not let our boys play for him… EVER. After three innings we were miraculously ahead of them, 11-4. (or some score like that). It felt amazing. With each run we earned, however, the other coach became more of a prick. He yelled at his players, broke the rules, and targeted our autistic player claiming his batting style was illegal. Our players became increasingly aware of the tension, became stressed, began messing up on plays they should have made, and… We lost. It sucked.
Our game got a lot of attention. A lot. Especially when parents and coaches (Dave and I excluded) began fighting. And you know it got attention when you go out for dinner and the people at the next table (who weren’t even at our game) are talking about it. But they weren’t talking about us. They were talking about the prick of a coach on the opposing team and how out-of-line he was/is.
Sigh. I feel like I’ve given this guy too much of my attention, and I’m somewhat tempted to delete this entire post. But I won’t. For all of my readers who are little league baseball coaches, remember what the game is about. It’s NOT about YOU.