Image by nathalie booth via Flickr
Quitters – If you commit to a team, you are there until the duration of your commitment is over. There are NO exceptions to this rule. Anything less is unacceptable because if you quit once, you are a quitter for life.
People who don’t know the rules but act like they do – Why do people who have never opened a rulebook in their entire life feel the need to embarrass themselves publically by getting rules wrong? Even worse, they get mad when the umpire rules against them and accuse those of us who have taken the time to learn the rules of being cheaters! Nuff said.
Guest Players – I could write a whole article on this one, but the bottom line is, be part of a team or go play an individual sport like golf. If you are in it for yourself, eventually, you will find yourself all alone. If you are committed to a team, then the team will be committed to you. Of course, a manager who brings a “guest player” on simply to win and sits one of their own players who has been committed to the team the whole time is even worse. Manager’s check your ego’s at the door.
Gossip – A + B = D???? Yeah, in the world of gossip that’s how it works. The great part of this game is the slow pace at which it moves, that also lends itself to lots and lots of conversations. Of course, nobody really knows anything, but everyone thinks they know everything! This is where my favorite line is “keep your blinders on and stay focused on the objective at hand”. This usually leaves those running their traps in the dust!
People who don’t step up – It is amazing how many complain yet don’t step up. In the words of the late great John Lennon, “there are no problems, only solutions”. You are part of one, you get to pick which.
Five Things That Delighted Me This Year
Heartfelt Thank Yous – Let’s face it, humble heartfelt gratitude is what makes doing this so great!
Being surrounded by great people – One of the great things about life is our inability to be successful without being in the company of amazing people. I am blessed in every aspect of my life to be surrounded by remarkable human beings. To them I give a heartfelt THANK YOU!
Smiling Faces – If I said it once, I said it 100 times. Nothing tops the smile on a kid’s face when they have accomplished something they worked so hard to achieve! Nothing!
Loyal and Courageous kids who kicked adversity’s butt! – You have two choices when things get tough, cut and run, or pull up your bootstraps and start swingin’! When a kid chooses hard work and dedication over giving up, they become our role models.
Positive Role Model Parents – You know, it’s always the ones that you on the surface appear rough, that turn out to be the best!
Ok, so maybe I’m getting old, but the
Time Person of the Year
Image via Wikipedia
is “The Protester”? I get it and all, the protester has overturned many Governments this year and we are fast on our way to world freedom and open market exchange, blah, blah, blah, blah, but that’s BORING! Sooooooo, I decided to create my own LittleLeagueCoach.com person of the year award!
THE LITTLE LEAGUE COACH’S PERSON OF THE YEAR IS…………………………………………..YOU!!!!
Yeah, that’s right, you! You reading this right now. You the parent who rushes around after school, zips through
McDonalds and picks up a happy mean, flies to the park to make it just in time for practice. You, who sits there hour upon hour at practice as your child refines their skills and learns the value of hard work and dedication knowing that when you get home an hour of homework looks you in the face. You, who is there to provide a high-five after a great victory and a hug after a tough defeat. You, who keeps everything in perspective and knows that in the end, none of this really matters in the big scheme of things even though it feels like it is the most important thing on the planet at the time. You, who year after year after year, never complains, never moans, never whines about the little things, but keeps your child focused on the overall objective, loyalty, character, and courage. You, who remains positive in the face of adversity and finds solace in the little things that are the reasons everyone is here. You, who makes sure your child knows the manager is an authority figure and is to always command respect, even when you don’t agree with him. You, the parent, who is always there for the ones that matter the most.
Is this you?
If so, then, THANK YOU for being every Little League Coach’s Person of the Year!
If you only read this headline, you would think I was about to write an article about how the kids don’t care any more, they are selfish spoiled brats, they only want to play video games, and don’t care about quality or performance or anything. But those of you that read this regularly know that isn’t my view of today’s youth. The parents, however, are a completely different story.
This weekend our league hosted the First Annual Spring Break Slam softball tournament using the new modified Little League Special Games Rules. The rules allow teams to play up to three games a day and relax pitching restrictions so you can stay competitive. Their are also other minor rules changes, but that is not important at this point.
My seniors team was eliminated in the first round of the elimination brackets so this afforded me the luxury of being able to sit back and watch games from an unbiased perspective. One I am rarely afforded. One thing stuck out to me more than anything else, the kids don’t care about anything except the game! The parents on the other hand.
For the most part, everything ran smoothly. All in all, the tournament was a huge success. But there were a couple of games where the coaches began arguing with each other, umpires, and spectators. While all this was occurring, I decided to focus on the field and watch the kid’s reactions. Guess what? They couldn’t have cared less.
The kids had no idea what the adults were arguing about, didn’t even care what they were arguing about, and at one point one of the older girls said to her dad, “Be quiet and just let us play the game”. Wow, amazing! And profound.
Meanwhile, while the coaches from one team were arguing with each other, the players were picking each other up, politely handing bats to one another, and showing professional courtesy across the board. Don’t get me wrong, they were playing hard and out to win, but they did it with dignity and a level or respect for each other that can only be learned through years of spirited competition.
Bottom line, the kids had no idea, nor did they care, what was happening outside of the lines, all they wanted to do was have fun, compete, and win or lose, they weren’t going to let it impact their lives.
I ask this to all the coaches out there, Does it really matter if you win the game tonight or the tournament next weekend? Will the sun still come up tomorrow? Will anything in your life be dramatically effected because the team of kids you coach aren’t champions? Of course not, so why do we act as if our lives depend on victory? Ironically, it is when you focus on fundamentals, sportsmanship, and teamwork, that victory soon follows.
Quit arguing, sit back, enjoy the action, provide guidance when needed, and focus when lost. There is no place for bickering on the field, it simply isn’t worth it.
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Last night I submitted my first article for the Flagler Parent Magazine. I was selected as the Youth Sports Expert and will have a monthly column in the magazine that focuses on how youth sports help children develop. This is a very exciting opportunity for me because the magazine is distributed directly to parents though the school system.
This, in addition to my mytopiacafe.com coverage, I guess officially makes me a journalist. The world has come a long way when I can call myself a journalist! Everyone who reads this blog cringes on a regular basis at my butchering of the language, but I try my best, and I hope to at least have a few endearing qualities. (Though my wife may tell you differently).
The first issue comes out in January when the kids return to school I will update you when it does. This is a major step for me to enter the paper print media. I am very excited and look forward to where it leads me.
Thank you to Charlie and Brady Publishing for believing in me.
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I just spent the last four hours planning for our spring season and compiling an email to all the parents in the league. Amazing that I actually had one whole week off before we had to start working on the spring again! This truly is a full time job. That means I have exactly 4 1/2 jobs and not a second to spare in any day! Life is good!
What are you doing to make your league better next year? We would love to hear about it!
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When this blog was started, the goal was to help out a few coaches, parents, and kids with my humble expertise that has been gathered over the past 19 years. I never imagined it would take off so fast! Just today I checked and the blog is now in the top 400K in the world! That is very humbling to me as there are billions of blogs on the planet. To be placed in the top 400K in such a short period of time is mind boggling to me.
I just wanted to drop everyone a line to say thank you. It is because of you that I do this and I appreciate you voting me into the top 400K.
How about we try to break the top 100K? Let’s go for 5 digits!
How can you help? Simply click on the link at the top or bottom of this post to add it to your favorites. Thank you so much for your support and I look forward to a long relationship with you guys. You have made my day and made all this hard work all worth it.
Now add me to your favorites! Let’s go!
I think tonight I figured out when things get really ugly. It’s not when the parents yell at the ump, or for their kids, it’s when they yell at each other or at the kids or coaches on the other team! The most amazing part? They are usually wrong! What happens is once you yell at someone else, they are going to yell back, then we got ourselves a fight!
My solution? Tonight I warned each coach that if their parents said another word other than positive to their team that I would clear the stands and we would let the kids play the game. It stopped instantly. The funny part? One coach said, "that might be a good thing!"….lol. Guess he has been getting trouble from his parents as well.
Top 10 Reasons Parents Spoil the Little League Experience
10. They are too competitive
9. They think their kid should play every inning
8. They think other coaches know better than their coach
7. They dwell on losses
6. They think Johnny/Janey cares whether his/her team wins or loses
5. They over pitch their kids
4. They question every move their coach makes
3. They complain for the sake of complaining
2. They show up late and wonder why that matters?
And the top reason that parents spoil the
Little League Experience?
1. They feel that they know better than (insert board member, umpire, coach, concessionaire, any other person in charge) but when asked to help make the problem better they respond "I don’t have time for that".
Have another to add to this list? I am happy to compile another.
It is amazing how much documentation you need to simply play all-stars! History has shown that adults are not always the greatest role models when it comes to all-stars though. It is beyond me how a team could cheat with a board of directors, hundreds of parents, and multiple coaches in the organization. But somehow they still pull it off.
Does no one have the guts to step up and say "we are cheating, it is wrong". Apparently not. I am the first one to work the rules to my advantage, I openly admit that. But I will NEVER blatantly cheat! I would hope that if I tried, my board would rein me in, at a minimum, I would hope someone, a parent or something, would question me!
Little League requires tons of documentation. They require:
birth certificate . It cannot be a copy, must be the original with the raised seal. Most states have overnight shipping on birth certificates, so don’t panic if you can’t find it. It will probably cost you $50-$100 but at least your child will be able to play.
3 Forms of Proof of Residency! These, can’t be the same thing. For instance, 3 utility bills won’t cut it. The categories are:
Driver’s License Voter’s Registration
Welfare/Child Care Records
Support Payment Records
Homeowner or Tenant Records
Internet, Cable or Satellite Records
My personal favorite is driver’s license, voter’s card, and utility bill. Simply and easy and you can copy all onto 1 piece of paper.
The second trick is getting organized. The best way to do this is to get yourself a loose leaf binder w/ plastic inserts. Then copy as above, put in the birth certificate on one side, the copy of address verification on the other and put into your book in the order that the names appear on the affidavit.
If you put your book together organized like this, then when you present it to your District Administrator’s representative, they are likely to breeze through it and you will be in and out instantly. If you are unorganized, they will tear it apart and likely find errors.
One more thing, as you move up, it will be more closely scrutinized. Make sure your parents bring original documents to sectionals, states, regionals, and the world series, just in case someone rejects something that was accepted at a lower level. Better safe than sorry in this case.
Once all the documentation is accepted sit back and enjoy the best ball of the year! Count how many times you shake your head in amazement. It is truly time for the kids to show off. Sit back and enjoy their growth.
What do you use for documentation? What is the strangest thing you have ever seen?
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