Monday, August 1, 2011

Play Ball!!

This is my little ball player. Except he's no longer a ball player. He's a 7 year old kid. A kid I am so proud of. A kid that some people find hard to understand. But I understand him, for the most part. And I love him. He makes me laugh. He makes me want to pull my hair out. He's mine.
Alex has been on a t-ball team for a full calendar year now. He started last fall with zero experience. And when I say zero experience, I mean the kid had never picked up a bat, never even put a glove on his hand. ZERO. The team we joined had never met each other and we didn't even have a coach. Someone stepped up and we all went from there. It was a fun season!! The kids really enjoyed themselves.
This spring season was a little different. The focus of the coaches shifted from being about teaching the kids how to play to only working on technique that would make them win. WIN. Win. Win. Apparently, the city we live in is very competitive about their baseball. Its a sad thing, really, when I hear that. "Its a competitive league" ... that pretty much, to me, means that the parents will do anything to be number 1.
At 6 and 7 kids are competitive. They do have the want to win, even when it comes to silly little things like say.. . arguments with their kid sister. HOWEVER.... Its my belief that at 6 and 7, playing a sport should be about 1) having fun, getting outside, running around, structured play and 2) LEARNING the proper way to play said sport, the rules, how a point is scored, how to be fair, how to listen to instructions, how to play well with a group of kids.
I do NOT believe that winning should be the goal at this age. It was said at a recent team meeting that kids don't learn anything from losing. I find that to be completely false. When you lose... anything... be it a game, a friend, a toy, whatever, you ALWAYS can learn something from it. You learn what you can do better next time, you can learn that if I do x, y will happen. There's so much to gain if you just realize that there is a lesson in losing! Don't get me wrong, I am all for winning. Its exhilarating! But I don't think that winning should trump learning at this age.
Also, at said team meeting, it was suggested that little league is used to weed out players for jr. high teams. Which, is an insane concept to me. However, if by "weed out" they mean ignoring the kids that need more help with their skills than others, yes... its working. If by "weed out" they mean benching some players more than others giving them less experience on the field (the same experience that they NEED to play better), then yes, its working. If by "weed out" they mean making parents feel like they are inferior because their child is not as naturally gifted as others, because their child is a whole foot smaller than their "all stars", then yes.. its working.

For those reasons, and because Alex is pretty burnt out on playing ball and has expressed that he doesn't want to continue, we quit. I've always heard that quitters never win. I think we are the winners now.

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end" ~ Semisonic - Closing Time


ck said...

I have always known it, but am just horrified that you and your sweet boy had to endure such craziness. That is exactly why I dread the moment that Cali or Mateo ask to play an organized sport.

But what a blessing you and your husband are to the little guy! He is truly learning lessons of decency, sportsmanship and grace from the two of you. And I agree with you 110% - you are definitely the winners here, to be rid of such gooney birds :-)

tomorrowsmemoriesphotography said...

Well played B's, well played!