Thursday, November 7, 2013

Little League/Competitiveness

A few people had posted this article on Facebook within the last week or so:

I got mixed feelings about this piece.

It made me think back to my brief stint in little league baseball before my left tibia got possessed by painful infectious demons putting me in early retirement. The game scared the shit out of me. It was pressure. Thankfully my father was cool, he would come to every game and be a quiet laid back spectator. I insisted he close his eyes when I was at bat (I don't think he did). I wasn't a bad player, and I could pitch okay in our league, but everything was stressful for me. I don't think he ever critiqued my playing and was happy that I was just out there.

We weren't in a crazy serious balls-to-the-wall league. There was better talent in other leagues in the city. But the idea of performing in front of parents and others is a big deal at that age regardless of skill level. I was a sensitive kid too.

Through encouragement I did make it to most games and practices and I'm thankful I did. For a brief time, it toughened me up, and I wish I could've done it longer.

Going back to the article (linked above), I can sympathize with the points made about obnoxious parents and coaches taking the game too seriously. In the scheme of things, it is children playing a game, it need not be hell on earth.

On the other hand, the game itself becomes pretty meaningless if no one cares to win and no one is taught anything. The fundamentals are key. Sitting a less talented player on the bench for most (or all) of the game is not the end of the world. Maybe it will force him/her to improve. I'm okay with that. Wanting to win isn't bad and neither is focusing on it. We need not fear such things. It's life.

It should be understood that there are leagues for serious competitors and there might be other associations that are more inclusive. These two approaches can peacefully co-exist. Understand what your aim is, and operate according to those values. Know what you're getting into. Don't complain.

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