Thursday, September 27, 2007

One of THOSE Parents

I have a dilemma.

A couple years back I suddenly became on of THOSE parents - you know the ones, that argue with the umps at a Little League baseball game because a call didn't go my son's way?

That's almost the Cardinal Sin of Little League - a parent interfering with the flow of the game, especially because of some real or imagined slight against their child. Of course my reasons were perfectly valid and just, at least to me.

But that's not the point. The point is I'm considering committing the REAL Cardinal Sin of Little League, which is interfering with the coach regarding playing time for Brainyboy, and more precisely where he plays.

BB plays what they call, "Fall Ball", which is less intense, less competitive than the leagues that play in the spring, which should allow more participation and greater opportunities for the kids to learn about the game of baseball. It should either prepare them for the more competitive leagues, or at least instill in them a love and enjoyment of the game.

In my humble, parental opinion, BB is not being given a fair shake.

Now, he's not the greatest player in the world I admit. There are a number of kids on the team who are more skilled both at baseball in particular and athletics in general. But he's improved this year dramatically and has succeeded way beyond my expectations. I'm really proud of his progress, and have told him so several times.

Yet while the coach allows a brand-new player, another boy on the team, to play 2nd base the whole game last night, BB is stuck in Right Field. And every game before that he's been stuck in Left Field. He's played 3rd for one inning (making an unassisted double play, I might add) and 1st base one inning (picking a runner off the base), but in 7 games all other times it's been in the field.

Now, typically Little League teams are pretty static - you play one position and generally stick there most of the season. But this league moves kids around - you might have an inning where the entire infield has shifted around. So there's huge precedence for it.

Last night he was highly upset at not being given a chance to play infield, even for a couple innings, in situations and positions in which he's excelled and done everything the coach's asked in the past.

So that's my dilemma - do I speak to the coach, ask him why he's not playing BB in other positions, try to use some influence to get him to move him around some more?

Just that is not that big a deal. You see, earlier in the season I sent the coach an email suggesting that BB might be ideally suited for 1sy Base (just like his old man). The coach obliged for that one inning - BB did a fantastic job - and that was it.

So a subsequent email or conversation would seem to me to be excessive parental griping and tampering. At least that's how I might consider it, were I the coach.

Now, my dad coached me and my brother in baseball and continued coaching Little League for a long time. He's told me many stories about kids who had no talent that believed they could pitch, and how they and their parents would lobby him to "Put The Kid In". These situations are ridiculous, because it should be obvious to some people that their kid's skills has a limit. But it doesn't apply in this situation because the skills are there, the heart is there - he's just being completely overlooked.

What do I do?

UPDATE (09/27/07): I decided not to say anything to the coach, and let matters play out as they will. I urged BrainyBoy to mention something himself about wanting to play the infield, but he vigorously refused. He's become somewhat jaded about the process himself. We'll just wait and see what happens.

He has a game tonight, but we won't be there as we'll almost be in the air at the time, plus we'll miss his games next week which is disappointing. There's not much more I enjoy than watching my son play baseball...

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