Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Parents suck

Parents suck. When parents have to resort to lawsuits, calling the police and other sorts of unseemly things --all because a 9-year-old kid is too good of a pitcher-- then you know things have spiraled waaay out of control.

Nine-year-old Jericho Scott is a good baseball player -- too good, it turns out.

The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at about 40 mph. He throws so hard that the Youth Baseball League of New Haven told his coach that the boy could not pitch any more. When Jericho took the mound anyway last week, the opposing team forfeited the game, packed its gear and left, his coach said.
Evidently, he has yet to hit/hurt anyone. He's only much better than everyone else, nothing more, nothing less.

My head hurts.

I have an 8 year old who played in an 8/9 year old league last year. At times, he was incredibly overmatched by the 9 year olds, and even a few 8 year olds who were much further ahead physically. There was one boy, my son's age, nearly a foot taller and probably 20 lbs heavier. The kid could also really play. He hit great, pitched well. And kids knew he'd probably strike out most players. And never once did anyone even comprehend mandating that this boy couldn't play. In fact, he stuck one in my son's ribs. It happens. It never entered my head that this boy shouldn't be allowed to play. I only thought that my son needs to flinch/duck faster!

That the New Haven league in question above would bring in an attorney to this situation is just pathetic and goes to show how parents suck. Just let the kids play. If a kid, in any sport, any gender, can excel, let them excel so long as it's done within the rules of the league. All leagues at these ages have pitch counts and limits. As long as this boy, Jericho Scott, was pitched within the limits of the league, he should have been able to play.

I completely understand that the point of these leagues is to develop kids, let them have fun, learn the game, etc. But at some point, they have to learn to face adversity and deal with failure. That's as much as part of the development as the physical part of the game. Yeah, they will all get participation trophies at season's end because that's how soft we've become that we need to over-coddle our kids. My son struck out more often than he made contact, but he still had a good year. He knew he was going to have a tough time with the older kids, but it was a learning experience and he found out some things about himself along the way. And he still thinks he's going to be a major leaguer.
"Facing that kind of speed is frightening for beginning players", [League attorney Peter] Noble said.
Boo-freakin'-hoo. Let the kid pitch. Let the other kids try to hit him and if not, tip their caps, shake hands at the end of the game and then go out for ice-cream. Overly intrusive parents and league attorneys can keep their mouths shut. Let them play. Learning to deal with adversity is also a skill that is learned, just like hitting and pitching and catching.

/rant over


Carl the Big Fool said...

Couldn't they make an exemption for the super pitcher to play in, say, the 10-12 year old league, if he's that good?

Jason said...


I thought the same thing but a few other issues arose:

1) What if he's just a freak pitcher and can't yet otherwise compete at a higher level?

2) What if he just wants to play in the same league as his buddies? Should he be forced to move just to assuage overly-protective adults?

Also, and this is from personal experience... what if they have hard-and-fast guidelines with regards to ages? I mention this as my son was in that 8/9 year old group as he made the cut off by a mere 2 weeks. Others in his grade level stayed in the "coaches pitch" league. I asked if my son, who clearly would have benefitted from another year of development before going to "kids pitch", could have remained with some of his other classmates/friends and the answer was that the league makes no exceptions. So if there are no exceptions to stay at a more basic level, why should there be an exception to play at a higher level? It's simply a matter of consistency. And I dislike that inflexability in instances like this, with kids of varying degrees of skill.

Either have kids "audition" for more competitive/less competitive leagues or just divide by age and hold it consistent. I thought my town's rule to divide arbitrarily by birth day, not grade level, was silly.

Had they had all interested kids come out, do some basic drills (hit, catch, throw), they could have determined which were capable of the advanced league and which weren't.