Tuesday, June 10, 2008

And so it begins.....

This morning Rabbit asked me if we could go to the batting cages tonight. And on Thursday. We also have practice Wednesday and Friday. And an All-Stars meeting tonight. Tournaments Saturday and Sunday. This is starting to get silly.

In order to help maintain some form of balance my wife and I have decided to try out a "get out of jail free" card for practices. Once per month, for any reason at all, on 2 hours notice Rabbit can excuse himself from a practice. While I do not expect he will use it, I want him to know that this is fun activity, and not a full time job, previous paragraph not withstanding.

I came a cross an interesting letter from Little League headquarters. While I appreciate the sentiment, I have several problems with their position. Every Little League activity is pointed towards a tournament. Every game counts. Every trophy matters. While I whole heartedly endorse pitch counts and safety measures it is ridiculous to say that "Travel Ball" ignores those issues. I especially find this sentence noteworthy:

In reality though, those who support travel ball are in many cases fulfilling a self-serving goal by seeking out a “higher level of competition” for the expressed purpose of supposedly increasing their child’s chances of landing a major college scholarship, or professional contract.

That is absolutely correct that I want my son to play with a higher level of competition. I want him to fight for every opportunity. That is how he gets better at something he loves. Do I honestly believe that he will play baseball professionally? Not for a second. I just hope he plays baseball so long as it is fun. There are parents with $ in their eyes at these tournaments, but not more than I see in the stands of any Little League game. After managing for the last several years I have lost count of how many times I get spoken to by parents who know their child has the "something special" and that I am directly stunting their development.

I have yet to meet a 9 or 10 year old who is playing in the Major Leagues. Think about what you wanted to be when you were 10. By the time I was 14 I had my entire life and career planned out. Not a single aspect of my life today is how I envisioned it back then. And that is a good thing.

My hope for my son is that he develops discipline, camaraderie, problem solving skills and teamwork from his baseball "career." Everything else is gravy.

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