If you haven’t heard… sports are big in Texas. When we lived there, my son was little league age and so as a good dad and because no one else wanted to do it, I coached. Now I played sports in high school just for fun but nobody would accuse me of being a jock. I liked the sports where I was on my own… if I failed, it was my fault and if I won, it was because I did it.
Well, that really didn’t prepare me for the coaching job.
We (the kids, their parents and me) had a blast the first few years until one year it became apparent that the parents thought that winning was the only option and that their kid was absolutely the best player. One who needed to play all innings and only in the position they thought was theirs. Nothing was ever good enough even when we had a winning season and got to be in a Statler Brothers video!
Now being the fair guy I am and trying to let the kids have a great experience, I had this strange idea that in the “minor” leagues anybody should be able to play in any spot if they wanted to. Well at least once for a short time and if it wouldn’t jeopardize their health and safety. You should have seen the smiles and pride when the kids got to play first base or when they got to try to pitch… I believe that the non-jocks have a better appreciation and love for the sport because they can say “one time when I was playing 1st base…”
Well… in Texas that just doesn’t work. This is the place you had tryouts and drafts like the big leagues for 8 and 9 year olds! There was plotting and scheming to make sure you got the best pitcher or batter… parents calling coaches to make sure their kid was on the best team… lobbying at the end for who would get on the all-star team and don’t forget the competitive league after season… lot’s of parent bucks and kid pressure.
The phone calls and comments from parents started getting more and more intense. The lineup was getting contention… from the parents and the “best” players. During innings, kids were sitting on the bench and crying because of the pressure from their parents and others to win and not mess up. I kept thinking… isn’t this just a game and a time for kids to explore their interests? Isn’t fun supposed to be a part of the equation? I’m not real proud of what I did, but I finally got answers…
It’s pretty simple… you really need to know when to quit and then do it.Have you ever had to quit something? How difficult was it?