Saturday, June 1, 2013

Broken Angels

We survived another season of baseball.  Phew!  We stayed in the same league as last year, opting to drive a half-hour each way to practice (pre-season 4+/week) and games (2-3/week) in exchange for avoiding Sunday games and tournaments.
Last year Big Boy #2 was the starting pitcher.  By the end of the season he was batting fourth or fifth in the order and had a fabulous experience.

This year, not so much.  His coach did let him pitch - some.  Try as hard as we could, there wasn't any logic to whether or not the coach would let him pitch.  In one game the coach had him start an inning and after BB#2 struck out the first two players up to bat the coach pulled him.  What?!?  That was all he pitched that game.  Sometimes the coach would promise to let him pitch at practice, but then wouldn't put him in during the game.  BB#2 spent way too much time in right field and hardly ever played first base (which he played when he wasn't pitching last year).  It was frustrating and discouraging.
When BB#2 made a fantastic diving catch the coach heaped all the praise on the kid BB#2 threw the ball to and then complained that BB#2 wasn't giving 100%.  It seemed there was no way to earn the praise of the coach.  As a parent I was annoyed when he called a last minute practice on Memorial Day that lasted over two and a half hours (seriously!) and by the end of the season BB#2 was talking about quitting baseball all together. 
Like most kids, BB#2 blossoms under praise and tends to wilt under criticism.  Fortunately, he didn't get worse this season, but he didn't get better either. We'll try another coach next year and hopefully it will be a better experience. 
It seems kids sports are nearly impossible to get just right.  At least we haven't managed to figure it out.  Too easy, too competitive?  A coach that's too hard and/or doesn't build skills? Avoiding Sunday games and the volume of time to get to long practices and even longer games?  Sometimes I wonder if it's worth it.  Especially after a season like this. 
But when he has a great game and is so proud of himself for cracking a double or striking out a batter, well, I guess sign me up for one more year...

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