Friday, May 05, 2006

More On Little League

Those of you paying attention know that awhile ago I ranted about the idiotic "evaluations" my 7 year old son endured before Little League started this year. At that time I promised to become a coach just to make sure things stayed somewhat sane, as any league that actually times how fast 7 year olds run to second base needs a swift kick in the ass once in awhile.

True to form, I volunteered as an assistant coach and have slowly started taking over the team. My wife isn't the only one who knows how to stage a coup. I've completely marginalized the official assistant coach, and even the head coach seems to defer to me more often than not. Maybe because I can get the kids to listen and participate better than he can. My secret is simple: I could give a shit if they know the infield fly rule, all I care about is no one gets hurt, (too badly anyway), and that we all have fun and want to do it again next year.

So far the team actually looks pretty good. There are only two kids who need to be exiled to the outfield, one for his own safety and one for everyone else's safety. The former kid can't catch except with his face, and the latter has to grab every ball, regardless of whether or not it was even hit in the same zip code as his position. If he's playing second base he will run over the third baseman to get to a grounder.

And then there's Christopher. Chris has only showed up to two practices. He is accompanied by an overbearing father who you can tell he worships. After every ground ball he missed he'll look at his Dad and say "Sorry, Dad", and his father will sternly tell him what he did wrong, more often than not with an exasperated tone. Same thing when the kid shuffles the ball to the wrong base or does anything else. Oh, there's one other thing you should know about Chris.

His arm's in a cast.

Yep, you read that right. He broke his arm before the season, but still shows up to practice and take some grounders. He's good, you can tell, but it's kind of hard to play ball in a splint. And his Dad, what an asshole. During our last practice, Chris is playing defensive pitcher behind me, (the coaches pitch but don't field. If the kids pitched there would be more walkers than a March of Dimes festival), and I let a grounder that was hit pretty hard go by me. Chris stops it with his glove, it bounces off, hits him in the gut, he picks it up, in his glove, because his throwing arm is broken, and pushes the ball at first base. The runner was safe by a mile.

So I look at his Dad, who is telling him nice job for staying in front of it, and I ask if maybe I should start knocking those down, since, y'know, your kid has one arm. He says, "No, I want him to get used to what the ball feels like."

I stare at him. What does one say to someone that fucking dumb? Does one say, "good thinking. Maybe after practice I can hit some balls to you while you keep one hand behind your back"? Perhaps not, but that's what I said. Then I high-fived Chris, (on the glove hand), and told him he was the toughest guy on the field. I managed not to say "and your old man's full of shit", but it was close.


Blogger SoozieQ said...

Good for you Limpy! Being in "the industry" (*snort*), but not having kids myself, I have to say I wish there were MORE coaches/parents like you. It kills me some times when we're at the fields and I hear/see some of the coaches or parents.

4:12 PM  
Blogger eclectic said...

Well done, you. Your story makes me wonder how Chris broke his freakin' arm in the first place.

Parents who can't affirm a child simply for being, and can only praise for doing just piss me off like nobody's business. There's a kid on my son's team whose dad can't even accept a compliment given to his son without saying, "Yeah, but if he'd apply himself..." or "Maybe, but I really wish he would have..." Gaaaah! Mr Eclectic and I have made it a point to compliment that child at every opportunity, meaning, out of earshot of his dad.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Seems like we have some more in common. I became a soccer coach after I, uh, was volunteered as an assistant coach and the coach was barred from coaching after she ran onto the field in the middle of a game and slapped an umpire.

Chris sounds like he has his one hand full with his shit-ass dad. Maybe you can hit dad some grounders and one of them will take a good bounce, hit him in the mouth, and knock out a couple of his teeth?

5:06 PM  
Blogger limpy99 said...

Let me be clear, I do not in any way think this guy, ass-jack though he may be, is abusing the kid. Pushing him too hard at sports yeah, but to be fair, I get no sense that he's anything other than an idiot. If I did get that sense, I can promise that I'd manage to badly miss the cut-off man on a hard throw from the outfield.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Ranea said...

Do what I did, Parents are band from practice! The practices were alot more fun without the Dad's living through their kids.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Madame D said...

When my son decides if and when he wants to try sports, I have all ready banned myself from any and all games.
Because, I am the worst sort of parent/observer. I yell at EVERYONE. I am just glad if my son's having fun, I could give a shit about competitiveness, but man, I would be yelling at all the missed balls, throws, whatever. Merciless.

I'm glad he doesn't show much sports interest. It lengthens the time until I have to explain to him why mommy can't come watch him.

1:12 AM  
Blogger Motor City Monk said...

I'm also assistant coach for my third grad son's coach pitch team. I stay in the background, only show up for the games (not the practices) and coach third base when our team's at bat. I know my comfort zone and silently root my kid on, throwing out compliments to the players when appropriate.

My son is extremely competitive and is one of the bigger, older, better players on the team. He's at the point now where he's telling the coach who's pitching exactly how he wants the ball pitched and gets upset if he doesn't hit the ball past the outfielder for a homerun.

Funny thing is, my fifth grader is fairly non-competitive but excels at fencing. Go figure.

6:53 AM  
Blogger Nonny said...

My 8 year old has shown no interest in organized sports whatsoever. He's kind of a pussy and I mean that in the most loving sense of the word. My 3 year old on the other hand definitely has the sports bug. I hope he gets a coach like you.

6:47 AM  

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