Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In Left Field (excerpt 'Raising Nick' re: parenting trials)

I've reached another of those parenting trials that has me between a rock and a hard place.


Following a lengthy battle between my husband, the epitome of a baseball fan/former little leaguer, and I, the lifelong soccer player who's dying to be a soccer mom, Nick joined his first organized sports league last month.



$35 Soccer cleats
$18 shin guards
$20 soccer goal
$15 soccer ball

Finding out that the soccer team I was going to sign up my kid to is now full paving the way for my husband to get his way to sign up the kid to baseball instead- PRICELESS... :/

I shouldn't really complain, though; Nick loves playing baseball so the proverbial silver lining prevails. Apart from liking the sport, he's lost his fear of getting hit by the ball; learned to catch pop flies with his glove; and, can hit the ball when pitched to. Not bad for a first timer but he's no A-Rod (yet).

As adults, we take for granted that which has come to be ease after years of practice so my husband and I do get somewhat frustrated when we see him miss easy catches/plays/outs but my father-in-law, Nick's 3rd biggest fan (actual tallest fan), put Nick's new skills back into perspective for me at Nick's game last Saturday when he reminded me of the accomplishment by telling my husband and I (that) 'one of the hardest things to do in life is to hit a little ball with a stick when it's coming right at you'. I guess we shouldn't be so demanding because, again, it's only his first time playing organized sports.

I use the term organized loosely because the organization is somewhat lacking. The coaches miss practices 1/4 of the time. Of the times they show, they lack consistency and structured instruction. They let the kids practice hitting from tees only to be coach pitched at games. During the games, they swap the kids all over the field trying to find 'their' positions but do not practice the same placements.

The kids fight each other for balls. Some kids stare off at the sky while others dance on the field, mine included. They've lost all their games- and miserably at that, but are still told by the coaches that 'they won.' The coaches, while not very motivated, are VERY nurturing and encouraging to the kids but what of creating skill? Oh and regarding being encouraging- all but one that is.

One of the coaches is a complete a-hole but he is an a-hole to his son only; and thankfully so because if he ever spoke to Nick the way he does to his son, I would straight up kick his ass! He berates his little boy at every practice and every game. Day in and day out I hear him say 'you weren't fast enough,''you didn't hit right,''that was your ball' and the little boy always shrugs his shoulder. Would it kill him to throw one little 'nice try son' to his kid?

Sometimes I wonder though, if Gus and I are acting similarly with our expectations and suggestions.

I know I shouldn't expect much from a league consisting of 4 to 6 year olds but the $180 price tag for 2 months should buy something more than a uniform and fun, no? At the very least, a little instruction? Fun is important- don't get me wrong, but shouldn't he be learning HOW to play? Correctly? After all, these are lessons that could potentially make or break his future playing.

So herein lays my dilemma: should he stay or should he go?

There is another league, same age group, which his league plays against and they seem to have their stuff together. Their kids know where the plays go; where to run to; when to run; and most importantly, how to play together. Those kids appear to be having fun and the coaches are tough without being cretins.

+ what of separating him from his new friends?

Ay-ya-yay...the trials of parenting...and he's only 6!

1 comment:

  1. I feel for you. I've been ther with my two boys and I changed them. I want them to have fun but at the same time they need to ACTUALLY learn something. He'll make new friends and adjust accordingly. The best thing would be to ask him what he thinks of the idea of changing teams. Let him feel included in the process.

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A wise friend once told me that the key to happiness was to 'Say what you mean and mean what you say'.