Monday, May 05, 2008

Spring Growth

Baseball season is in full swing in these here parts. Last year Isaac's team had brand new coaches and more than half the kids were new to the team. We also had one of the smallest and youngest teams last year. The oldest and biggest boy on the team, who all the others looked up to, spent the season whining about our losing record and refusing to show up to practices and even games because he just didn't feel like it. We had our butts handed to us game after game. The boys took an awful lot of taunting and trash talk from schoolmates last year. The coaches are good guys who mainly want the kids to have fun and gain skills rather than win at all cost. They kept it positive so in spite of an absolutely atrocious record the kids were usually having fun. (Unlike the goons who coached his fall team and for whom winning was everything.)
(Another mom took this picture of Isaac and gave me a print of it so it's a little fuzzy since my scanner is a bit dodgy. I just wanna pinch that cute lil heiney. I think I was an old Italian man in a former life.)

This year since so many are returning you can feel a stronger sense of camaraderie. Several boys have had growth spurts and they are functioning as more of a team. Very unfortunately, one of the new boys got hit in the face by a pitch during a pre-season scrimmage. He had a couple of facial bones broken which required surgical repair and he will not be able to play at all (I'll pause now while you wince with me). He and his parents still show up and cheer the rest of the team on. He sits in the dugout and helps keep the stats. No one has heard any public whining from him. I can't help but think the class and sportsmanship he and his family are showing helps team spirit an awful lot too.

(Not the best picture in the world but I like that I managed to get the ball in the frame and the look of concentration on his face.)

Last season we one exactly one game at the end of the season. Last weekend we squeaked out a win for this season. This Saturday we clobbered the opponent (11-2). While I truly don't think it should be all about winning I know it gets awfully tiresome to be the Charlie Brown team who always looses. It's even more so when game after game you have to put up with classmates trashing your team after every humiliating loss (and let's face it, scores like 4-17 ARE humiliating). I'm mainly glad we have such a great team spirit this year and I am happy for the boys, that they can walk into school today and for once be given a little respect.

(He's a good pitcher and likes to pitch but catching is where he really shines. He enjoys it too because he gets to see everything and always be involved.)


James Goodman, Author said...

Ouch!!! That poor kid. I'm glad to hear he's still showing his support to the team after such a terrible accident. It speaks volumes to the typy of man he will become.

That's great that the team is doing much better this year. At that age, it shouldn't be overly competative, but it helps build their love of the game if they can win a few matches. :D

furiousBall said...

I coached my son last year and loved it. Baseball is so good for kids (even 37 year old ones)

Phain said...

i'm feeling so proud and he's not even my son!

cheers and here's to a great season :)

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

Hi Michelle,
Great post! Baseball was a huge part of our family for 13 years, and I loved every second that our son played--from t-ball to his senior year of highschool. (Some "seconds" were easier to love than others, though. :)
If you get a chance, read my story called "A cup of Kindness"--it's about our days in Little League.


Cheesy said...

How I miss watching my youngest play! Maybe soon the grandgurlies will start t-ball?
[I want to pinch his bum too!]

S said...

Hurray for spring and baseball!

Nice to see some new shots o the boy.

Suldog said...

"The oldest and biggest boy on the team, who all the others looked up to, spent the season whining about our losing record and refusing to show up to practices and even games..."

You never want, or need, anyone like that on a team - EVER. My personal pet peeve, as a coach of many years standing in softball, is players who dis their own teammates. Isaac is much better off without such people around.

lime said...

james, i couldn't agree more, on both points...

furiousball, america's pasttime!

phain, awww, thanks

cathy, got a good giggle from your story. thanks:)

cheesy, so you were the other old italina man i used to play canasta with while we waited for cute bums to wiggle past for our pinching pleasure?

s, hurray for spring indeed

suldog, amen to that!

tsduff said...

After the years of sitting on the hard bleachers, working the snack shack serving steamed hotdogs, sodas and candy, scorekeeping and base coaching for my three little leaguers, I'm back in the saddle routing for my grandson's team. What a ball - and those are some great shots of Isaac! HA! The boys of summer are timeless. Great post.

lecram said...

A little respect for winning games is good... the sportsmanship though is paramount. And it also serves to teach about the ebbs and flows of life.

Great that they are doing well though. :)

Jeni said...

Just a question here but don't the coaches have rules/regs about attendance for practice and games, as well as what will/won't be permitted in terms of team spirit?
I agree with Suldog completely that kids like the Bully are not needed on any team -more disruptive to everyone than good done there. But really glad to hear the kids have made some good strides over the past year and won a few more than last season. Shows a bit of the good the glue effect of sportsmanship can help provide that way.

lime said...

tsduff, you know. i've come to baseball kind of later than most but i have grown to really enjoy it.

lecram, yep, i'm all about being a good sportsman. truthfully, i think if you win all the time it's even harder to learn that virtue than if you loose all the time.

jeni, yes, last year the coaches eventually got fed up with the bad attitude and benched the kid. that's my only criticism, they should have benched the kid a lot sooner.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post!!! :) I love baseball and I love little league! I umpired for 6 years!!! :) It's scary to have a head injury... but it's great he's still involved and a part of the team!

Thanks for sharing!

AndyT13 said...

Don't be afraid of the ball!
Lean in! Don't... OH!!!!!!!!

That's gonna leave a mark.
Good post anywayz!

damasta said...

It sure is Baseball season! I went to a game myself, with the fam (i'm posting pics soon). and it was a wonderfully beautiful day here in HOuston (which, with summer right around the corner, beautiful days dont often happen). Glad you and Isaac had a good time!

74WIXYgrad said...

Baseball can be berry berry good to you. It is truly a team sport where everybody has an equal opportunity to contribute. I just hope in this case you don't have the "little league parents" mess things up.

I missed all that. My parents discouraged me playing. My son was never interested.

BTExpress said...

I coached LL for a few less years than my son played. We both had a ball.

Craver Vii said...

It sounds like the new coaches are fostering an environment where the kids can really enjoy the game. That's so important!

re: Old Italian man... Geppetto, is that you??

Anonymous said...

I have such mixed emotions about little league. I played,2 , 3...8 years and coached two. I love baseball and overall I loved playing but my Dad was always the coach...that alone brought it's own stigma (because it was my Dad - I'm not knocking the Dad - son coaching thing). Even now I like to sit and watch LL games even though I don't know anyone who's playing. My son played T-ball when he was a little tyke but it wasn't his cup of tea. Sometimes I get into self flagellation for not pushing him into b-ball and being a b-ball dad. I don't know...

G-Man said...

Goodman again huh?????

He needs to get a REAL job!

11-2 eh? There must have been some extra 'special' karma going on that game!!!
Congrats to the boy...
And to the proud Mommy!!

James Goodman, Author said...

Goodman again huh?????

Hey!!! I'll have you know I work my but off from 1:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. (sometimes even 1:30) each and every day... :D

It's good work when you can find it. :D

SignGurl said...

Good for Isaac and his team!! A win does so much for morale. It's only going to get better from here on out.

Fred said...

Two of mine were very involved with softball, but that's not a huge priority anymore. Too bad, I enjoyed watching their games.

Isaac looks like he's going to have a good year.

lime said...

solitaire, i'm betting all the boys wanted you as the ump!

andy, lol yer wicked.

damasta, wow, nice to see you, been a long time.

74wixy, we seem to have a good group of parents this year too. :)

btexpress, making memories eh?

ccooper, if your son wasn't digging it why push it. he has other interests no?

gman, do i detect a wee bit of jealousy? yep, there was some groovy mojo happening at the game ;)

james, can ya hook me up with some work like that ole buddy ole pal?

signgurl, yep...we could loose every game from here on out and it's still 100% improvement over last season

fred, i hope he has a fun year no matter what the record is.

Diesel said...

Breaking bones in your face doesn't sound like fun.

lime said...

diesel, no it doesn't, not even a little

lime said...

craver, oops sorry i missed ya. reaches out to pinch you just so you know i meant nothing by it.

ciara said...

ok, i know i had to comment on this post as soon as i saw it was about kids' baseball.

i have been assisting my older daughter's baseball team this year. before our team was formed there were 2 coaches, who decided who all there coaches were gonna be, that took all the 'good' kids and left all the rest which became the team we coach.

now, i know you are not a regular reader of my blog, but i have done a post on the arsehole that coaches on of the other team. he is a win at all cost kind of guy. my husband is the main coach of our team, but because no one person could commit their time fully to this team, they're not getting all the attention and practice they need to be better. we coach on the basis of having fun and learning something. we definitely are against letting our kids become too competitive. there is one boy who hates that we have lost every single game, but then his mother complained to me about last year how the coach would play regulars (which coaches can do)and that he didn't play much. well, if your son's not that good that's what happens, but it's not so much that for me as it is that parents have very unrealistic expectations of their child's ability. i am dealing w this first hand from a father (who is highly competitive and very hard on his daughter.) She doesn't like to play baseball, but she's forced into it. He yells at her, gets her crying, and it pisses me off.

however, the arsehole from the other team pisses me off more than him because he cheats, he yells and swears at the kids on his team, and thinks that little league is the Big leagues. he is so highly competitive and the kids see that. one boy from the team went up to my oldest daughter in school and said 'we beat your team BAD' and another came up to youngest (who has nothing to do w baseball)and said ha ha we beat your team. she told him that that's her sister team, but i guess it's by association? come on, really. and people wonder why kids are like they are nowadays...there are bad examples and good examples...i strive to be a good one.

oooo, sorry for my rant! LOL

p.s. tell the kids to turn in away from the ball so if they get hit it hits them in the back instead. so righties turn right, lefties turn left. we made sure that's one of the first things we taught the kids when we started kid pitching. it's great that he's still their cheering the team on and not whining. i abhor whining lol