Monday, June 25, 2012

S'mores of Baseball and Softball

     The last couple of weeks for our kids baseball and softball season have been quite an experience.  Let me expand on some of the details from the last post having to do with this topic.  The sporting arena has changed dramatically from The Sandlot times.  Kids don't have time for leisure play anymore; it is practice all the time for some competetive, serious, play.  Practice can take place anywhere from two to six days a week; two to three and a half hours a practice.  Boys as young as 11 years old are pitching curve balls with no idea of what this can do to them by the time they enter high school.  Or young girls with serious injuries who would rather "walk it off" than to take care of it have no clue what this will create when they enter (early as) their 20's.  I have seen it and I personally know young adults with these types of problems.  Whether parents want to admit it or not, this is the reason why so many young athletes get burnt out before they reach high school, and never give it a second thought.  This is not a topic that baseball moms like to engage out of fear of being the only ones that feel this way.  But through the course of the years, I have come across many parents, mostly those who went through it years ago and have grown kids, admit that they pushed their kids into playing even when the kid did not like the sport, was tired of playing, or simply didn't want to play anymore.   And I admit, I am guilty of this myself, but getting better at backing off.

Going back to my earlier post on Baseball and Softball.

3. I will not make excuses for my child.  I explained that when my child makes an error, I will leave it alone and allow the coaches to make corrections.  I am old skool, you know, discipline and respect score high on my list, so when the coaches tell my kids to do something, they better do it, even if they don't want to!  And it is my responsibility, as a parent, to instill these values and standards in my kids.  The coaching staff takes time out of their precious day to coach and teach my kids  the sport (FREE of CHARGE!).  The least that my kids can do is to keep their ears open, mouths shut, and do as they are instructed.  And if my children have a problem with being yelled at (by the coaches), well, they better find a sport that fits their fragile personality, has got to be something out there that allows mediocrity and a coach who doesn't demand hard work, right?  WRONG.  There is nothing more frustrating to the community that is trying to help a child develop, whether it is a teacher, a coach, or a club organizer, than an enabling parent who makes up excuses for their misbehaved child, regardless of the situation or circumstance at home. 

4. Never assume about other teams.  I use to assume that competitive teams that moved ahead a division believed that they were better than the rest of the teams.  This is not so.  When a coach decides to move a team up (ahead of their own division) is not because they believe that they are better off than the others.  It is because they believe that they will help the players by giving them a higher level of competition, and therefore the players will rise to the occasion.  I realized this when both my kids teams began to do this a couple of years ago.  The coaches clearly let the parents know that the team may not win many games, but it will make the team stronger, by competing at a higher level.  The truth is, every coach does what is best for the team at the time, because once the player is past the basics, the teams are out to win.  Development of the skill and technique come with a higher level of competition and much practice.

     All you baseball and softball moms out there know that there is so much more than what I am highlighting here.  There are those city and torunaments championships, teammate bonding and lifelong friendships.  I will get to those as well.  Being a baseball, softball, soccer, cheerleading, swimming, or football mom (yes, I am also a football mom), is a lot of stress and hard work.  It is not always pretty, but it is always a memorable adventure.

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