Don't take me out to the ballgame
I'm kinda over the crowds
Keep your peanuts and crackerjacks
I don't care if I ever come back
For it's Root, Root, Root for a rain out
If we don't play that's ok
For it's 1- 2- 3 games per week
And a practice on Saturday
For those of you that know me, no the apocalypse has not occurred. Hell has not frozen over. Life as you know it has not ceased to exist. However, after June of this year the Lisowe's will no longer be playing baseball. And it breaks my heart. When I found out I was having a boy the first thing that went through my mind was how awesome it was going to be to have a little boy who could grow up to pitch (both right and left handed), be a switch hitter, and grow up to play baseball at Georgia Tech. No question in my mind.
But little league coaches and parents are ruining baseball in America. This is America's past time. A game that we love, but I'm afraid that we are ruining it. Let me take a step back.
This is Braden's third year to play, but first season out of t-ball. T-ball was great. One practice per week and one game a week played on Saturday mornings. Perfect. We've now moved up to the next league. The one with a pitching machine. Last week my child played 3 games and had a practice on Saturday. Keep in mind that 1) these games are played on school nights and 2) last at least 75 minutes. Now, if we're lucky and get the 6pm game, then I have just enough time to pick my kids up from school, shove some food down their throats between 4:45 and 5:15 pm and get back to the park by 5:30 for warm ups. Those games we'll get home at 7:45 just in time for a 2 minute shower and bed.
Now the 7:30 games are the kickers. We play a minimum of 75 minutes, and so assuming that the game starts on time (which it never does), we're getting home around 9:30. My kid is 6. He goes to bed at 8pm every night. At least he used to.
And it's not like I went out and signed my kid up for some travel team club. This is city ball. The least we can do and still be on a baseball team. And I hate it. What happened to being 6 and just being a part of a team. It's like we all have to be so competitive with what is happening in the rest of the world that we're ruining the game for these boys. Let me tell you all a secret. There is a 99.9% chance that your kid will not get a college scholarship to play baseball. I know. I used to work for a company who recruited kids for college scholarships. And if he does it will probably not be a full ride. And if your kid is lucky enough to get some money to play ball in college, there is a 99.9% chance that he will never play ball in the major leagues. Yeah, he may get drafted, but guess what, most of the players that get drafted never make it to the majors. They spend 5-10 years kicking around the minor leagues making about $1500 a month (if they're lucky) until they finally either give up or get too old to be good anymore. So, obviously it is worth ruining my son's chance at learning to love and play the game of baseball for that .01% chance that your kid will get to play professional baseball one day.
I can also assure you that the days of sandlot ball and pick-up games are a thing of the past. Because guess what, anyone who knows how to play baseball is on a travel team out of town somewhere on the weekends. And they're either playing or practicing until 9:30 every night of the week. So that leaves no time for pick-up games and playing just for the love of the game. Which isn't that why we got our kids into playing to begin with?
And we've been lucky enough to have a great coach the past three years. He doesn't yell at the kids, ever. I did see him throw his hat once, but I fully supported that action based on the mutiny that was occurring with the tiny humans on the field. What about the ones that don't have great coaches? The ones where the coaches yell and scream at kids? I just can't imagine…
So I made a decision. No more baseball for us. Braden was upset, but Braden is not the only one given up 12 hours of his life each week at the ballpark and I have to make the decisions that are best for my family. And what is best for my family is actually being a family. Eating dinner together at night. Spending time with each other, and most importantly, spending time letting my kids be kids. If we want baseball, we'll head up to Dickey Stephens and watch the Travs play.