Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Play Ball

The Little League team rosters got released today. I'm a coach this year, taking the opportunity to role model for an audience wider than my own family.

My youngest has reached the age where it's no longer assumed that you play with your friends. League reps try to juggle skills, neighborhoods, schools, relationships, and a million other things when they put together teams, most of which results in everybody hating them. Not bad for a volunteer position.

I've explained this to the boy. For the most part, he understands. Watching SportsCenter three hours a day has given him insight into drafts, trades, and competitive balance (not to mention salary caps and high-profile arrests). He wants to be on a team with all of his buddies, but he also knows that a lot of them are pretty good ballplayers and it wouldn't be right to do that. There's one friend in particular, though, his best friend, the one kid he really, really wants to play with and the one kid who feels the same way about playing with him. They both know, however, that it's a crap shoot. There are a lot of teams and not a lot of guarantees.

So, the rosters came out today and I brought one home. He was downstairs watching television, SportsCenter of course. When he saw me come in, knowing that I had the roster, he looked nervous.

I yelled down, "Hey, want to see the roster?"

"Yeah, sure, I think, I mean I want to see it, who's on the team, do I get to play with my best friend, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, who are we playing with, I bet he's not on the team, I never get anything, I bet he's on the team, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad. . . ."

"For God's sake, feed the dog and we'll look at it."

We did. We got a fair shake. Some decent players, some kids I know, a bunch I've never met. It should be a good season, a chance to teach some things about hitting and pitching and sportsmanship. My boy will have fun, I think.

His best friend? He's on the team. I suppose it shouldn't matter. After all, there comes a time when sports isn't mostly about friendship.

For at least one more year, though, I'm glad it is.


Anonymous said...

You're coaching?? You're a brave man. Do the parents of your players have to take a behavior class and then sign a contract promising not to yell, maim, or damage in any way? Ours do.

Anonymous said...

Someone is quite the sports dad. Is that a good thing? Perhaps for one more year. :)

teh l4m3 said...

Please try not to get shot by another parent... These things get vicious!

Snag said...

I've been lucky so far, none of the parents on teams I've coached have gone psycho. Occasional grumblings, but nothing major. Probably because the guys I've coached with and I spend more time making sure the kids get equal playing time than we do in worrying about the score.