Jack had a baseball game Saturday. Glorious, sunny day to be out watching kids play baseball. Just ideal. However, watching the game unfold, a few things occurred that I could use some reader advice on.
You’re the 3rd base coach and the batter hits a shot into the outfield. The ball goes all the way to the back fence. As the batter comes into third, the ball comes in to the shortstop. Here are your choices:
1) Send the runner. These are 4th graders and there is basically no chance a 4th grade shortstop will throw to a 4th grade catcher accurately enough to tag the runner out at home. So you get the run – but you teach the runner the wrong baseball move. In a few years, if that runner goes for home he is 100% going to get thrown out.
2) Hold the runner. Yes, you might be giving up a run, but you’re teaching proper fundamentals. Down side here is that these kids really do want to win and you might be giving up a run. Hell, you might cost them the game.
I genuinely don’t know what the right call is here. I really do see both sides. I’m interested in what people think. Let me know. And please label your comment “Situation 1”.
You’re a parent in the stands watching 4th graders play baseball. You’re rooting for your son’s team. Your son is up to bat and the umpire calls a strike that you think may have been a ball. Here are your choices:
1) Complain and grouse loudly so other parents and maybe even the kids can hear you.
2) Keep your mouth shut.
You know what…I’ve actually got this one. The correct answer is to keep your fat mouth shut. Let me give you a few reasons why:
a) The umpire is a volunteer doing a hard job. If you’d like his job, then I’m sure you could have it. But instead, you can sit in the stands, keep your mouth shut and support him. In fact, if you are supportive of the umpire, your actions might even serve as an example to teach kids to respect authority and follow the rules.
b) By complaining about the umpire, you are essentially saying to your child: “That umpire is the reason you didn’t get a hit. It’s not your fault.” You don’t teach your kid that they’ll succeed if they work harder. You don’t teach them to face failure. You teach them that they’re perfect and they deserve to succeed. It’s unfair, outside forces that cause them to fail. You teach them to be a victim.
c) And finally, asshole…you’re sitting 45 feet away, you’re viewing the strike zone from the side, and there is a chain link fence between you and batter. Maybe…just maybe…you’re not in the ideal spot to call balls and strikes.
OK…so I guess I only need advice on Situation #1.
[Note to blog followers who were actually at the game. Situation 1 happened, Situation 2 did not. That’s happened at lots of other games and it always drives me nuts. But this Saturday the crowd was terrific. It really was an idyllic baseball watching experience.]