Fair is fair…or is it?

Well. Where do I start? We’ve had a very interesting last 5 days. As you all now Bailey is on the traveling baseball team for our town. This was something he had to try out for. Something we had to pay for. Once he made it, it cost us $150 for league fees. Camp was $75.  That’s only the beginning. We are willing to pay whatever the price (with some help from grandparents) it is for Bailey to play ball. He’s talented, and he takes it very serious. Yes, he has fun, don’t get me wrong. But we’re talking about an almost 10 year old that has a dream of being a Minnesota Twin someday. And to him, every game is one closer to the major leagues. Ask him, he’ll tell you just that. Okay, so we pay all this money for him to have everything he needs. A new bat, helmet, cleats, bat bag…you name, he has it. Not because he’s a spoiled brat either, he deserves this. Every other year has strictly been the $75 fee to play in-town ball. Yes, I have a point coming up here.

Those poor boys, have played 6 regular season games. They’ve lost every one. Not for the lack of trying either, on most their parts. Those kids have poured their sweat, and tears (even though there’s no crying in baseball) onto the fields. A few, probably shouldn’t be playing, but I think you always have that. I think some parents force their kids to play. Or, they just want to try it out for a summer. And in that case, have them play in-town ball.  I don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars to have my son on a team full of kids just trying out baseball, because they’re tired of soccer! Bailey gets irritated with the few that mess around, the ones that don’t take it serious. There is a noticeable tension there between a few, the ones that care, and the ones that don’t. And to the ones that don’t care, there are no consequences  to their actions. I am so sick of hearing,”oh they’re only 9.” Seriously? At 9, they should know how to act. And if they visibly don’t want to be out there, bench them until they show they care! As a parent, I’m not putting that much money and time into something that isn’t taken seriously. Again, I’d pay $75 for in-town ball.

The kids are getting so frustrated, starting to argue with each other and once that starts, I’m afraid they’ll never pull it together. The coach is just ridiculous! We know him, he coached Bailey 2 years ago. He is nice, very nice. And that was all fine and dandy for that type of baseball. They don’t emphasize on competition as much. Monday, he pitched 2 kids that have never ever pitched. Why? Because they asked if they could, and coach wants to be fair. He told Jason in the beginning of the game, he’d probably regret it.  Well, the boy gave up 5 runs in the 1st inning and he was taken out. Obviously upset, it set the tone for the rest of the game. I have to ask, how is that fair to the boy?! Coach wants to be fair, but is he really, being fair?

So, does Jason talk the coach. It’s not even about them losing every game. We don’t feel he is giving them a fair shot at winning. A lot of money and time goes into this, and for what? For kids to “learn” how to play baseball. Come on! All the boys, are better at one position over another. Put them there, and keep them there. Let them win a regular season game, for Pete’s sake! Coach asked for Jason’s opinion on how to play the boys for the tournament, he listened and they won their 1st two games. He’s not listening anymore. Their spirits are fading fast!

The coach has a son on the team. And he’s good! What I’m afraid of is, his dad will coach them up until they are 15 and in high school.  I sure wish I had an “easy” button for this one! And please, know that we encourage each and every kid on the team to do their best. Not just the ones that seem to care more. We cheer and hope the very best for each one. I just think baseball isn’t for every kid, and coaching isn’t for every man!

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17 Responses to Fair is fair…or is it?

  1. Joy says:

    This is an excellent post Nikki. I know what my opinion is and I’ll give it in the morning. I’d like to see what other people say and I’m too tired to type it all tonight but I wanted you to know I loved this post.

    • Nikki says:

      I should also add another problem we have with this coach is he is constantly changing their positions, each inning. They are never given the chance to get comfortable, get used to a position. Errors are killing them. But then again, even when an error is made, especially because they aren’t paying attention, I think they should be benched. There is no disciple, and some kids really need that. To be a good coach you have to have balance between being Mr.Nice guy and a hard a$$!

  2. mssc54 says:

    Okay… I have been both the irritated and the Youth Coach.

    First of all my problem as the parent is that I (seriously) had much more experience coaching, going to coaching camps, vendor meetings, etc. than most of the highschool coaches our girls ever had. Without question the BIGGEST MISTAKE my Mrs. and I made was talking (complaining) about the coaches in front of other parents and especially the kids. At first it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. I mean everyone was just as ticked off as we were but over time our ticked off attitudes began to make the kids feel like they too could yack about the coaches. Now that we are sort of starting over with young kids again we will be much more concious of the seeds of discontent we plant with our kids especially. It is one thing to talk one on one with another parent but when there would be a few or four or six…. It created a pretty bad admosphere.

    Now coming from the recreational coach’s point of view; why didn’t some other parent who was so much mor knowledgeable than me step up and give their time? I mean if they have all the expertiese they why did they wait for me to do it? But I must say I did have it pretty good. Our daughter was a left handed pitcher and we dominated three seasons in a row. So that’s not such a fair comparison.

    Now withe travle ball. It is expensive. Not only are parents investing their hard earned money but taking your kid to all the practices and out of town games. Well, many times you are already tired by the time you get to the game so it doesn’t usually take much to get you annoyed.

    Travle ball is different than rec ball. The (usual) goal in travle ball is to give your best players more experience and try to develope their talent. Period. If I am the coach I have a parent-player meeting when the roster is selected and I tell everyone what they can expect. If your child isn’t getting the amount of playing time you think they should get then they (the player) needs to work on their skill-set and prove to me that they deserve time over another player. That simple. If you (the parent) have a problem with me (the coach) don’t come up to me during a game and especially DO NOT come up to me after we lose a game. Time is important. Give me a call and let me know that you would like to speake to me PRIVATELY about a concern you have. Discretion is important. If you just complain all the time you will become known as the parent who always complains and no matter how good your kid is there will always be another kid who’s parent doesn’t create so much turmoil. That’s the kid who will get the spot over your kid. Sorry but coaches talk and that is really how it is.

    It’s okay to be annoyed and ticked off. But it is not okay to complain about the coach every time he does something you don’t like in front of all the other parents and expecially the kids. As a coach I would much rather a parent come up to me and say something like, “Coach, I wanted to speak with you privately so as not to cause any problems with other parents or players. ” Tell the coach that you will do your best to be polite and respectful but that you do have some serious concerns. Be prepaired to be specific and don’t generalize with things like, “Why aren’t you playing your best players more?” Keep stats on each player and you will be the team hero. Which player hits where when they bat. Even the opposing team. When number 5 comes up say, “He came to you last time third base!” The coach needs to know that you know that you are serious and know what you are talking about and that you are not yet another parent that thinks their kid is the next Mickey Mantle.

    Now don’t take any of this personal. You guys have 8 or 9 more years of this so it is best to lay a good foundation now instead of realizing years later (like we did) that, perhaps you could have done some things a bit differently.

    • Laura says:

      yeah. what he said.

    • Nikki says:

      We don’t speak to other parents or the other coach about these things. Especially around the kids. There is one guy who has a kid on the team and he is on the board. He does talk to Jason about these things, and Jason has expressed some of his concern. However no bad mouthing goes on. That is one concern I have Michael. If he IS the coach for the next 5 years, I do want to remain on his good side. What you said about another kid taking my kids place…I agree 100%. However, we do pay a lot and spend a lot of time so I do feel we have the right to voice our concerns. In an appropriate matter of course.

      • Nikki says:

        I’ve had one mother ask me if Bailey was frustrated, because her son was also. As far that goes, that has been it.

  3. SKL says:

    Hm, I have literally no experience with this, but here goes anyway. I have to say I’m surprised to read this, because considering how competitive this was for Bailey to get in, I would think all the kids who got a spot would be highly motivated. If they suck, how did they get on the team? Is there some kind of sham going on to get your money? If I was seeing that, I’d seriously be wanting my money back. But of course, you can’t say those kinds of things to Bailey – at least, not now.

    Is it only like this in the first year, or can you find out if this will be the scene going forward as well? If so, I would stop forking over my money (and time) for that – effective next season.

    On one hand, I think it’s good for youngsters to chill a little and accept the fact that winning isn’t everything. But on the other hand, win or lose, a team is supposed to be working together for a common goal. It is a shame to put a really dedicated player on the same “team” with kids who aren’t really there to play ball. But yet another hand, is this still a better opportunity for Bailey than just playing on the league in town? What other opportunities does he have to play at a high level at this age?

    I can feel your frustration. You are doing a lot to help your kid, and in some respects, it’s just making him unhappy. I hope it gets worked out so that it can end on a postive note.

    Not the same at all, but my 3yo is also super interested and motivated in dance. She happens to be the littlest kid in the dance program (smaller than the 2-year-olds) but she operates at a much higher level. The teacher put her in with the older kids (4-5yo) for a couple of months, and said she did really well there. But then she put her back in with the tots so that the toddler dance recital would be “more fun.” (Translation – there would be one kid who actually did what she was supposed to do.) I didn’t like that at first. But I kind of swallowed my pride and looked for the bright side. My kid still loves dance, and soon they’ll have to move her up on account of her age if nothing else. LOL, today her nanny said she danced nonstop through an entire CD, with some pretty impressive choreography too. I hope that she always dances for the love of it and never meets with disappointment. But I know that isn’t how reality works.

  4. Laura says:

    I’m just kind of sitting back here and taking in the view. In a couple of years, I can see me being in the same situation with Josh… we’re just not there yet. In fact, at this point, MY kid is the one sitting in the outfield picking the flowers while the other kids are batting… which is why, I suspect, he’s playing outfield. On the other hand, he’s trying to learn to be a switch-hitter, so there are sparks of interest there, I’ll just have to wait and see. Fortunately, we’re still in the “$20 for the entire season, and the uniform is a t-shirt” phase.

    Meanwhile, it would NEVER occur to me to put him into a ‘major’ league, like Bailey’s in. If he’s driven and is ready to buckle down and play, then yes, absolutely. But if he’s just there for the beer (or the flowers), then no… waste of his time, my time and my money.

    My only suggestion would be to voice your concerns to the coach, away from the kids, like others have said. I agree, there’s a time to be ‘nice’ and let the kids all try out different positions – but that time passed when they tried out for the ‘big time’ team that they’re on. Now is the time to be developing their skills in a chosen spot. If they want to try another position, then do it during practice, or schedule some special practices or something. Don’t put an untried pitcher on the mound during the games. It’s frustrating for the kids who ARE there for the right reasons. And I would wager, no less frustrating for the opposing team, who came there to play, not to give one or two kids practice.

  5. Joy says:

    I’m at a loss for time this morning as I have a few things I need to take off and do but this post has been in the back of my mind since I saw this in the post box last week and I really feel for you and YES, I’ve been there. Only for me, one of the coaches was also my husband so I could rant and rave after a game once the kids were in bed so I didn’t “really” hurt my kid’s chances for anything.

    I’ve tried thinking about this from a lot of angles and it still boils down to what’s best for the kids. Adults out of the way for this point of view. You have those kids who want to “try” to pitch and they slam in 5 runs and he has to get taken out of that game IN FRONT OF EVERYONE. The people in the stands as well as their peers. That can’t be good on the self esteem. Then you have the “Bailey’s” on the team. The kids who eat breath and dream all things baseball getting mad at them for the runs. That’s not good either. It’s best in my opinion, at this age to break kids into a position. You don’t just give them the ball and say “go for it.” Pitching is something you either have or you have to learn. It’s not easy to pitch.

    I never yelled at a coach. I couldn’t STAND my kids “major league” coach AT ALL. Paul was the batting coach and book-keeper and my brother in law was the pitching coach but neither of them were “head” coach. Without explaining my life story, he was an “okay” coach for Jason but Toby, that was another story and without getting into it, I took Toby out of a game and in the middle of a game and never went back. But I never or talked bad about him sitting in the stands. I just did a lot of yelling at Paul.

    Mssc is right in a lot of what he’s said. They are there and we don’t know where all the other volunteers were. Maybe there were none. You were new this year and nobody knew Jason so how could they recruit him? He’d be a great coach but at the time, he didn’t sign up if you know what I mean.

    I do feel, honestly in my heart that if you start complaining to the coach, Bailey will end up on the hurting side of the whole deal. As the wife of a coach, when “outsiders” start telling them what they should be doing, it back fires and they won’t play your kid. They can’t take it out on you but they can take it out on your child. We had quite a few parents who complained over every little thing and pretty soon, the coaches do end up not liking your child. They take out their frustrations on you, on them so I’m thinking wait a year and see what happens.

    I’d let this year ago. As far as the money goes, it’s gone and you’re not going to get it back but maybe there’s hope for next year. Paul and I were talking about one of the nicest men we ever knew and yet he was the worst baseball coach and his teams never won because he let the boys do whatever they wanted to do. He wanted them to have fun but the kids like Jason and Bailey would have hated to be put on that team but once you were drafted there’s nothing you can do about it and if you do complain, again, they will end up taking it out on your kid.

    If I were Jason, I’d cozy up to that board member but I’d take the high road. That coach KNOWS how you feel so I don’t think you need to say anything. Sometimes by saying nothing, your feelings show through more than if you just pitch a fit.

    • Nikki says:

      Yes I agree 100%. We’ve decided to bite our tongue this year. The coach does know how Jason feels about certain things, and we can’t force him to do what Jason feels is right, for the team. We didn’t even know about this traveling team until the sign up sheet for try outs came,. And by then the coaches were already chosen. The board member and Jason get along very well, and he does plan on sticking with him. I’m pretty sure, just by some of his reactions, he doesn’t want his kid on a team like this either! We’ll see, it is only his first year. However we were all expecting so much more!

      To address SKL~how some of these kids made the team is still a mystery to us. What’s even more frustrating is these kids tried out at the level, or better, that the 10 year olds did. That is why they were put in the 10 yr old bracket.
      I honestly don’t know how the whole process worked, we couldn’t be there for try outs. This season has been a learning process for us, as well for Bailey. I am only afraid of Bailey not wanting to play, if this continues through out the years.

  6. starlaschat says:

    Coaching is so important to a teams success. I also know that if a couch is not producing positive results that some time the couch is asked to move on. Not that I would wish that on him. It probably is very stressful and frustrating for the couch as well. Not an easy job especially with losses and trying to figure out how to pump up moral. It really sounds like a tough situation all the way around for everybody. I’m not sure what the answer would be except for maybe time? Maybe things will shift around a bit. Can Jason couch the team or is that even an option? Some times when life is at is worst is when you can learn the most. Some time I think stuff that we go through can effect how we handle things in the future when we have the opportunity to really be champions. Compassion to know how it feels for the other team is a good thing. I suppose.

  7. Jingle says:

    coaching is a career, it is complex and could be beneficial if one does a good job…
    Awesome reflections,
    Happy Tuesday!

  8. Ouch. Sounds like a complicated situation! Because when it comes to kids’ sports, most kids aren’t aiming for the big leagues and so the coaches don’t take them too seriously… If there’s one thing I can say that may be a consolation, it’s that once Bailey gets a little older, middle or high-school, the teams are going to get way more competitive and serious and the kids who wanted to just try it out when they were 9 will be long gone from the fields by then.

  9. kweenmama says:

    My daughter had a softball coach like this once. It was so frustrating. You have received some good advice from the others above. Maybe one thing you could do is get all the parents together doing things like bringing snacks, hosting after-game dinners, making banners, etc. and then if the group decides to stay together for the next year you could have a team parent meeting in which ideas could be shared about how to make “our” team better. Then, hopefully, people will feel comfortable to share their ideas and suggestions.

  10. lucy says:

    I don’t have anything to add as everyone had excellent advise. Hang in there and good luck!

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