Little League

May 5, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 1:38 pm   Category: Life

So Q-Dog is five years old now and we have made our first foray into the world of little league baseball. I gotta tell you folks — I’m not liking the looks of this so far. (That’s not him in the pic BTW — just some random tee ball photo I found)

Doggy has two older sisters so I already have experience with some sports and activities for kids. We have done the dance thing, gymnastics, swim team, and I even helped coach the volleyball team for Number One (that’s our oldest who turned 10 yesterday). At most those activities required one practice per week and perhaps an hour long game on a Saturday. Not bad.

Enter Tee-Ball.

Thankfully our tee-ball coach doesn’t require practices, but even so they have two games scheduled every week. These are no 45 minute affairs either – these are three inning, hour and a half games each. And the times are all over the map: Friday night and Saturday afternoon one week, Monday and Tuesday evening the next. Geeez — did someone forget that these are a bunch of 5 year olds?

The scarier part is that I hear we are getting off easy. A family I home teach has a nine year old son on a little league team. They hold two practices per week that last a full two hours each time and if the kid misses a practice he doesn’t play on Saturday. Plus a parent has to stay for the full four hours. Sorry folks, but that’s ridiculous.

Look, baseball isn’t even that cool of a game. Sure, it’s good times to go to a MLB game when the weather is nice and all — but I know you baseball, and you are no basketball or football… or even volleyball.

In our case, the Doggy is probably going to end up being 6’3″+ so I think I want to get off this stinkin’ little league train early and let him focus on other sports as he gets older. Swimming or track or hoops or volleyball might work nicely later for him based on the gene pool. I realize that as the young’ns get into middle school and high school there may be no avoiding a lot of hours for whatever sports/activities they are into but until then I like the idea of riding bikes in the cul-de-sac, swimming in the pool with the neighbor kids, and you know — being a kid.

I know they call baseball the national pastime and all, but I’m just not buyin’ up what little league is trying to sell around here.

13 Comments »

  1. I should note that the games can be pretty fun right now though. Every kid hits every inning and no one gets thrown out so they all score every inning too. When the other team is batting our team stands around chatting with each other, milling around, looking for airplanes, doing potty dances, occasionally sitting down, sometimes picking their noses, etc. When the ball gets hit usually 5-8 of the kids race after it and wrestle over who gets to huck it back to home plate. When the weather is nice it’s good times.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 5, 2007 @ 1:48 pm

  2. I agree, baseball isn’t even that cool a game (I laughed out loud at that, by the way). I’m going through a similar situation with my 3 1/2 year old right now, except it is soccer, and he likes kicking the other kids’ shins more than the ball, and it is hilarious, that makes it easier to tolerate — almost as fun as my six-year-old daughter’s YMCA basketball league — those kids have no idea what is going on. But when I’m sitting in the theatre to video-tape my ten year old daughter’s grand five minutes in the three-hour ballet recital, I promise I would rather be the tee your little doggy is swinging at. Every three months my wife and I have to break out the movie Parenthood just for some perspective. But who can really complain, right? Good stuff.

    Comment by Glenn — May 5, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

  3. That’s exactly why we dropped out of little league. Who has time for all that?

    Best tee-ball experience, though: There was one little boy who took it all very seriously. He ran out for his turn at bat, then realized he didn’t have his batting gloves on. Went and put them on, came back out, dug his feet in, tapped the plate a couple times with the bat. Paused, pulled his gloves on tighter. Then he pointed out into the outfield like he was Babe Ruth.

    Quite the dramatic build-up for a kid that couldn’t hit the ball off the tee.

    When he finally hit it, he ran up to first base, stopped, dropped flat onto his stomach, and dragged himself across it.

    Comment by Susan M — May 5, 2007 @ 8:05 pm

  4. Well I have to say that Tee-ball is something quite differently than actual little league. I have been involved with coaching my son now since he was 4. He is now 11 years old and enjoying baseball more than ever. He is a very competetive kid who just loves to play.

    I used to think of sports as just a routine thing kids did as part of growing up but I now realize that for some kids sports is the biggest part of their lives. I now compare being able to properly throw and hit a baseball with playing beethoven on a fine instrument. It is artwork to watch how a kid progresses doing a sport they really love. Most of the greatest piano players that ever lived did not achieve success overnight but from years and years of practice everyday for hours. The same can be said for baseball players who dedicate themselves to practicing their art and perfecting their mind and body for years and years before publicly displaying that artwork in front of the rest of us in Americas greatest pastime sport.

    Every kid who works hard at baseball has the dream of playing professionally just as every student of the piano dreams of playing to the applause of thousands. It is all the same drive- the love for the game- whether it is excelling at the piano, speech, fishing or playing baseball.

    So….Is there baseball in heaven? I believe so. They probably have angels that strum the harps during the seventh inning stretch!

    Comment by Rob Osborn — May 5, 2007 @ 11:18 pm

  5. I think spending a large percentage of time running kids around to varying activities is another sign of the times. With daily news of crimes against children, the world just isn’t as safe as it was when most of us were young. When I was 10, I had my own horse which I cared for solely on my own. I came home from school, tended to my horse(brushing, picking hooves etc.), then saddled her up and took off for the hills. I could be gone for hours at a time and my parents never worried. Parents can no longer turn their kids loose to the great outdoors without fear of kidnapping, molestation etc. I think this is part of the reason why kids seem overscheduled these days. You got to keep them involved in something and sports provides socialization in a hopefully more supervised and safer environment.

    The little town we lived in back in California was still reasonably safe. When we lived there, my children spent many days playing outside with friends in the neighborhood. It was great and they have many happy memories of those times. Now that we’ve moved to the Phoenix area(East Valley), I don’t even like my 15 year old daughter to walk to our neighborhood park by herself! She has been heavily involved in dance for the past 8 or so years and I have spent plenty of time running her around. I have also spent hours watching and waiting as she has attended classes,competed,and performed. Most of the time I don’t mind as I have made friends with other parents and the waiting times gave me an opportunity to chat with other moms.
    I think the hardest part is all the driving. I have to take some of the blame for that because for some reason none of my kids get their license until after high school. They all sort of drag their feet and I don’t push them enough. My middle son is on a mission and STILL is not driving. I am determined my 18 year old will be driving this summer!

    Comment by AJ — May 6, 2007 @ 9:15 am

  6. You know what’s worse than sitting through a 3 hour long dance recital waiting for your kid to get their five minutes of dancing in?

    Sitting next to your spouse who, for the entire 3 hour dance recital,gripes and moans about having to sit through a 3 hour dance recital. That’s some good times!

    Comment by Kristen J — May 6, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

  7. With a model like MLB with 4-hour games 3-4 times a week (or so, I don’t even follow enough to know), I think they shoulder part of the blame. Stick with soccer, a game that is much less parochial, more elegant, and more reasonable-for-parents (any good politician will tell you it’s the soccer-mom vote that counts, not the tee-ball moms or dads…).

    Comment by Robert C. — May 7, 2007 @ 3:14 pm

  8. Next game you are going to drop and give me 15 for a bad attitude Geoff…Q Dog is in Right Field for all of the next game. I’d bench him but all kids must play every game all game.
    Coach Todd

    On a more serious note, we have had a few rained out games. The suggestion was made to have some double headers. We have scaled the original 90 min games back to 60 and even at 60 my own son is looking at me saying, “dad when is this over.” That would mean 2 to 3 hours of T Ball. I think I said something like we wouldn’t show or we would do a split squad.

    I agree I love seeing my daughter at her dance recital. I just hate seeing every one else’s kids. The dance schools do it on purpose, have one dance at the beginning and one at the end. We need to ban together and get all of the dance schools in the universe to find a more palatable format for us dads.

    It is true that baseball is a lot more fun as the kids get older. The thing that I find interesting is the number of adults that are trying to make a living off of kids’ sports with camps, lessons and club teams. Additionally, I don’t like how leagues extend the season with all stars and tournaments for additional revenue. When I was a kid, I had a BMX bike and a glove. No one had their own equipment, cup included. My parents went to no practices and few games. I played all stars because I earned it not because my folks coughed up another $100 or that they paid for me to be on some club team. In my opinion, competitive youth sports have gotten way too competitive and beware of the leaches that are looking to shake you on the premise that you are neglecting you kid if you don’t ante up.

    Wow I was just going to make a quick wise crack and I got all of this off of my chest, very therapeutic.

    Comment by Coach Todd — May 8, 2007 @ 12:53 pm

  9. Preach on Coach Todd, preach on brother! I’m totally pickin’ up what you’re layin’ down.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 8, 2007 @ 1:02 pm

  10. The solution to the 3 hour recital: Nintendo DS…

    Comment by Matt W. — May 8, 2007 @ 2:06 pm

  11. I hope you at least mute it Matt…

    Comment by Geoff J — May 8, 2007 @ 2:09 pm

  12. My cell phone has a great game on it called “Bubble Breaker”. I kept a busful of rowdy 4th graders in line by hosting a bubble breaker tournament. My kids love it too.

    Do you think I would be sending the wrong message if I let my kids play it during sacrament meeting?

    Comment by Kristen J — May 8, 2007 @ 7:05 pm

  13. Well I’m glad someone else feels that little league baseball has become too competative. What’s fueling this is the intense corporate competative rat race culture that capitalism has evolved into. Winning and loosing are big deals and (what’s that stuff?) Sportmanship is left for the Sat afternoon fisherman shows and deer hunting or duck hunting expiditions on TV. I have been coaching my son for 3 years (he’s 7 y/o)

    Comment by Hank Tabeling — May 15, 2007 @ 9:13 am

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