I’m glad my sons are on good baseball teams, where the coaches and parents keep things in perspective. They do a good job in remembering that in Little League, the focus should be on learning the game, having fun, and making friends. But we’ve been on teams in the past, where the coaches and parents had a mindset that winning was all that mattered, even if that meant sacrificing what was best for the kids. This brief article will discuss that hideous underbelly of sports I got to see in past years.
I witnessed coaches and parents using foul language to berate umpires who were just trying to do their best; six-year olds with walk-up songs; and tournaments nearly every weekend, including Sundays. Three-hundred dollar bats; one-thousand dollars per player fundraisers; two-hour a day workouts in the offseason; and players playing on multiple teams because 79 games in a 6U Spring Season wasn’t enough. This is the sad state of affairs in Little League baseball these days. One has to wonder if the kids are even having fun anymore, or is it all about the adults?
You’d think we were talking about the major leagues here, but sadly we’re not. Parents and coaches have lost all perspective when it comes to sports. Baseball is supposed to be enjoyable. In Little League, kids should be learning how to play the game and having fun. Instead, they are playing so much baseball under such intense pressure, they are often burned out by the time they get to high school.
Who is looking out for the kids? Sadly, it’s not the parents or coaches. We are failing them. What example are we setting when coaches treat the umpires with such disrespect? When music is blasted containing vulgar lyrics? When we can’t go to church because we have to go to the ball field? When we spend hundreds of dollars on a bat for t-ball? What exactly are we teaching our kids?
We should remember that it’s just Little League. It’s just a ball game. It’s not worth humiliating the umpire, missing church, going in debt, or ruining a kid’s love of the game because he didn’t make the team or get to play.
Parents and coaches, you should ask yourself these questions: Is my kid having fun? Are we taking this too seriously? What example are we setting for these kids? Are they going to be burned out by the time they get older? Are we doing all this for us or the kids?
A little perspective is sorely needed. We need to quit trying to keep up with everyone else. Let’s take a step back and think about what really matters. Little league should not take over your life. As much as I love baseball, it shouldn’t get this serious this soon. It should be fun. If it’s not, then let’s go home.