Parental Frustration in Youth Sports

Phyl CampbellStarred Page By Phyl Campbell, 11th Apr 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/t6sqxdsp/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

The adventure of parenting a youth baseball player continues with my son's first scrimmage. My disappointment with the coaches continues.

Batter Up!!

So the coaches finally let my son out of left field and he goes to bat. I can tell that he's nervous. He watches the pitcher-- he watches and waits for the perfect pitch. There's the wind up -- there's the throw -- it isn't perfect, but my son connects.

And he's so excited that he hit the ball -- he's not going to let anyone tag him out. He holds the bat like it's a sword and dares anyone to touch him with the ball or tag the base. He runs wildly down the field. The other players run to get out of his way while the coaches cry foul. The bat swings wildly from left to right and my son rounds the bases. The officials allow it. Home Run.

I know I should not should not cheer for this, but I do. I yell and yell until I am hoarse. I know it is wrong and my son will never play ball again.

Then I wake up. It was just a dream.

Scrimmage -- Reality Bites

In reality, on Tuesday we are told of a scrimmage on Thursday. "But we'll be done by 7 o'clock," the coaches reassure parents. I'm hardly convinced. We still don't have a game schedule. It's Benchmark week -- high stakes testing. Why pick this week for a bloody scrimmage? This is the week that sleep matters and I can't move the morning to a more convenient hour. Other teams in the league have canceled all practice for the week in respect for the tests. But I suppose if they're done by 7 -- even 7:30 -- it won't be too bad -- right? I try to manage my expectations. Tuesday a new coach is brought in and works with batting. My son likes him. He actually felt like this guy cared about how he did.

Thursday my son gets his hat and jersey. He certainly looks the part. He still can't catch the ball half the time. But the other half, he does. The new coach does not appear.

We finally get game schedules. A parent who's been through it before has to tell me how to read it -- "SW" is the southwest field of a ball park I haven't been to in a decade or more -- we have never had practice there. There's no map. I hope there are signs up at the ball park, but I rather doubt there will be. But we do have the schedule of every game for every team in the entire league. Laziness on the part of the coaches arms me with information. I can't say I mind that.

My son is directed back to left field for the scrimmage. He is dancing to a song no one else can hear while he waits for the ball that will never come his way. It's not that the other players are much better. The poor pitcher can't pitch to the catcher -- the ball drops to the ground a foot in front of the batter. Even so, the coach yells to my son, "move back -- move back." So my son moves back a giant step and then dances his way back to just behind third base. Sixty pitches and three base hits later, there's not much for him to do.

The Clock Strikes 7

Near the end of the second inning, my son gets a turn to bat. He connects with the ball -- not with his bat, unfortunately -- but he shakes it off and walks to first. This loads the bases. The next batter hits a pop fly that has players running to half-stolen bases, but it is caught. The batter is out. The other players run back to previous bases. My son is tagged out trying to return to first. End of frame. But even though it's 7PM, the coaches call for another frame. My son returns to the outfield. The clock keeps right on ticking. Surely the coaches will call it. They don't. Another inning starts. My son is not among the players. We are done.

We leave practice 30 minutes after it was supposed to be over. The "scrimmage" part of practice is still going strong, but so will Benchmark testing in the morning. Our leaving prompts an exodus of parents and players, for which I am grateful. The coaches are not parents of players -- but they don't have enough players to punish everyone who left. We'll be back Monday night for the first actual game.

Previous Articles

I am continuing this series to document my frustrations about the current season as they happen. I am hoping that other parents similarly frustrated will be able to read, vent along, share, or maybe even help me find peace and solutions. In the comments section, tell me what you think, please!

Did you miss previous articles in the series? It's easy to catch up:

#1
#2

And a poem for those of you patient enough to bear with me:
Something for Everybody.

The images used in this article were taken by yours truly. I hope you enjoy them. The preview / section 3 image I am especially proud of -- not because my son missed the catch, but because I had no idea where the ball was when I clicked the camera!

Tags

Baseball, Coaching, Youth Sports

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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Comments

author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
13th Apr 2014 (#)

I do agree with this post a 100%

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
13th Apr 2014 (#)

Thanks, Fern. I appreciate it.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
13th Apr 2014 (#)

So frustrating. What bad timing to schedule a scrimmage during test week.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
13th Apr 2014 (#)

Thanks for the support, Connie.

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author avatar Randhir Bechoo
13th Apr 2014 (#)

Interesting article.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
13th Apr 2014 (#)

Coaches should set an example but they do not seem to care. I relate to your feelings Phyl and hope things would improve soon. I go back in time when I was your son's age when I had to stomach partiality of few to favor their own and that did hurt at that tender age! siva

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author avatar C.D. Moore
13th Apr 2014 (#)

Well said Phyl!
Sports should be fun.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
13th Apr 2014 (#)

Thanks Randhir, Siva, and C.D!!

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author avatar Kingwell
25th Apr 2014 (#)

Yes, Sports should be fun!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
25th Apr 2014 (#)

You are so right!!

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
20th May 2014 (#)

Well when there is a Home Run the beauty of it is the watch your child hit home and their real home that is not someone else's home. It just takes One Glove and three strikes to show the run in circles without a hit.
For a parent,all you have to do is learn to play along with them and learn their moves and accordingly doctor it to get the winning streak. Its not always possible as that is why you have an interesting game as its not a rigged one or the balls were not tampered with.
Take care, get the throw correct to hit the ball on the bat and for the bat, look in the angle and get the aim. Take Care. I know I play the sports my child plays and excel in ALL of them too.

Any more Comments needed or do you ring your Bell in Base Camp Phyl.

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