A Noble Effort?
Tonight I witnessed the president of a league argue with a district administrator to get one of the leagues player’s ejection overturned because he would miss the championship game. While this may seem a noble effort on the surface, what does it actually teach the kid? And what kind of leadership is being displayed?
The player was ejected because he lowered his shoulder and plowed over the catcher when a play was being made on him at home. Little League rules specifically state that you must slide or attempt to avoid contact when a play is being made on you. He chose to initiate contact and was ejected. This ejection would have taken place at just about every level of ball except the major leagues .
To further support the validity of the ejection, there was not a peep of an argument from the player’s manager, coaches, teammates, or spectators. It was truly a "no-brainer" ejection.
Winning or Life Lessons?
With all of this knowledge, the fact that the president of the league in question could argue at all means that more emphasis was being placed on winning the championship in the next game, than enforcing rules, respecting authority, and teaching good sportsmanship. Regardless of the words he was speaking, the results of his actions were saying, "it’s more important to win a championship than assure that the catcher is not injured". Is this what we are supposed to be teaching as officials of the leagues?
A Better Response
A better response would have been to take the attitude of "hey this stinks, but our player made a mistake, he must pay for it, and now each of us has to step up our game a notch to make sure we get to play tomorrow". I was an umpire in a game a couple years back where a senior player was out at first. He took off his helmet and threw it down slamming it into the ground. Again, an automatic ejection. The president of that league was there that time also and I heard him in the stands saying "he had no choice, that’s an automatic ejection, they warn them at the plate conference". That’s how a president should conduct himself. His actions probably averted confrontation from the parents because they were very upset with the ejection.
The team in question this time is coming out of the loser’s bracket, they must win twice before the other team wins once. This means that if they pull off a victory in the first game w/o their player, he will be fresh for the second game. The officials of the league should have this positive attitude about the situation.
I hope the manager and coaches will have that attitude going into the game on Monday. If they whine and complain, this will be reflected on the bench and the players will give up before the game even starts. Encouraging each kid to step up and play even better than they were before will teach the kids that no matter what challenges they face, they can overcome them.
What is the worst offense you have ever seen an official commit?
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