Is winning more important than having fun?
To the Editor:
Let me first start by saying that my son, who has been playing baseball for three years, is not a natural born athlete.
He is a just-turned 10-year-old kid who loves baseball and wants to play on a team. So, when did it become okay for a coach to tell the parents of 9 and 10 year olds that if your son doesn’t produce (ie: get hits, make great field plays) that he doesn’t play?
Now correct me if I am wrong, but do professional athletes lose their pay if they don’t perform? I know a poor performer doesn’t get a contract renewal but what about the guys making a half a million or more? Do they sit on the bench?
Back to the point…I guess I misunderstood what children’s sports are meant to be? I thought having my son on a sports team would build character.
I encouraged my son to join the baseball team to learn to be a team player, gain self-confidence and learn some baseball skills. I didn’t pay the same money as the other parents (of talented athletes) just to have him be a benchwarmer.
Sitting on the bench most of the game, my son is not getting respect from his coaches or teammates. His peers look down on him as inferior and not worthy with as little respect for him as they would a waterboy or mascot.
He is not made to feel a part of the team but instead feels like an outcast. Explain to me again – why would any decent mom pay their hard earned money to have this happen to their child?
Don’t get me wrong, I did try to reasonably talk to his coach about my concerns about his comments. I was abruptly told that he was the coach and could coach anyway he wanted. If I didn’t like it, I could take over as the coach. What I don’t understand is why didn’t this coach talk to the parents privately about our son’s lack of ability and give us the opportunity to choose if they wanted their child to be a benchwarmer? Note that there are at least three boys on our team in this situation because the coach was desperately in need of kids to play when signups started. But at the first game of the season a few boys joined from last season who are great players – so now our sons are no longer needed.
So tell me, when did winning games become more important than playing and having fun? Why do our kids have to grow up too fast and face the harsh world at such a young age?
I do realize that coaches are kind enough to volunteer their time. I, too, am a volunteer for Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, church and school. I take my volunteer responsibilities with children very seriously. Shouldn’t all volunteers?
What about the mixed messages our kids are getting? I have to praise RSU 10 for all the emphasis in the past few years to combat bullying, put in positive supports and rewards for good behavior. So again, I don’t understand, my child is going to school and being told, you don’t need to be No. 1; you don’t need to be perfect; all that is expected is that you do your personal best. Am I naïve? Shouldn’t that be the motto on the baseball field also?
I want to end my letter on a positive note: This same son last year joined AYF football and had never played on a football team. The first few practices my son was timid and didn’t even touch another player on the field. With support and praise from his five football coaches, they pushed my son to work hard and do his personal best.
My son loved playing football and thought the coaches were great. By the end of the season, my son had great self-confidence, felt great to be a team member and turned out to be a good football player. So I want to personally thank the five football coaches of the 2010 AYF Steelers team for taking their responsibilities as a coach seriously and being great role models for my young impressionable son.
It’s nice to know there are coaches who are spectacular mentors. Thanks again for being wonderful coaches!
a disappointed Peru little league baseball mom