August 26, 2008

You Cannot Be Serious?!

To quote John McEnroe, and quite aptly title my post for today, I'm disgusted by the way people treat children today. And although it is horrific and unspeakable, I'm not talking about child abuse. I'm talking about coddling. Treating them like fragile little pieces of china whose feelings and spirits will shatter into a thousand pieces if they aren't granted the same fanfare as the kids who actually deserve the spoils. Acting as though every kid deserves a gold star even when they haven't done the work necessary to acquire a gold star.

...Found this story on Yahoo.

9-year-old boy told he's too good to pitch

By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated Press WriterMon Aug 25, 7:17 PM ET

Nine-year-old Jericho Scott is a good baseball player — too good, it turns out. The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at about 40 mph. He throws so hard that the Youth Baseball League of New Haven told his coach that the boy could not pitch any more. When Jericho took the mound anyway last week, the opposing team forfeited the game, packed its gear and left, his coach said.

Officials for the three-year-old league, which has eight teams and about 100 players, said they will disband Jericho's team, redistributing its players among other squads, and offered to refund $50 sign-up fees to anyone who asks for it. They say Jericho's coach, Wilfred Vidro, has resigned.

But Vidro says he didn't quit and the team refuses to disband. Players and parents held a protest at the league's field on Saturday urging the league to let Jericho pitch.

"He's never hurt any one," Vidro said. "He's on target all the time. How can you punish a kid for being too good?"

The controversy bothers Jericho, who says he misses pitching.

"I feel sad," he said. "I feel like it's all my fault nobody could play."

Jericho's coach and parents say the boy is being unfairly targeted because he turned down an invitation to join the defending league champion, which is sponsored by an employer of one of the league's administrators.

Jericho instead joined a team sponsored by Will Power Fitness. The team was 8-0 and on its way to the playoffs when Jericho was banned from pitching.

"I think it's discouraging when you're telling a 9-year-old you're too good at something," said his mother, Nicole Scott. "The whole objective in life is to find something you're good at and stick with it. I'd rather he spend all his time on the baseball field than idolizing someone standing on the street corner."

League attorney Peter Noble says the only factor in banning Jericho from the mound is his pitches are just too fast.

"He is a very skilled player, a very hard thrower," Noble said. "There are a lot of beginners. This is not a high-powered league. This is a developmental league whose main purpose is to promote the sport."

Noble acknowledged that Jericho had not beaned any batters in the co-ed league of 8- to 10-year-olds, but say parents expressed safety concerns.

League officials say they first told Vidro that the boy could not pitch after a game on Aug. 13. Jericho played second base the next game on Aug. 16. But when he took the mound Wednesday, the other team walked off and a forfeit was called.

League officials say Jericho's mother became irate, threatening them and vowing to get the league shut down.

"I have never seen behavior of a parent like the behavior Jericho's mother exhibited Wednesday night," Noble said.

Scott denies threatening any one, but said she did call the police.

League officials suggested that Jericho play other positions, or pitch against older players or in a different league.

Local attorney John Williams was planning to meet with Jericho's parents Monday to discuss legal options.

"You don't have to be learned in the law to know in your heart that it's wrong," he said. "Now you have to be punished because you excel at something?"

This poor kid! He's only nine years old and is a victim of insufferable parents who've forgotten that HE'S A KID. So the kid's a good pitcher. So? Good for him! He shouldn't be banned from the game for the next six years - until he's in high school - because of it.

"Facing that kind of speed is frightening for beginning players."

Do you know how many times in summer-league softball I had to stare down a 5'10" pitcher with an arm made for the frickin' women's Olympic team whipping balls at me? Yeah, it was scary and unnerving, but it taught me that I can overcome my fear and hit the damn ball. How are these kids ever going to learn that a)life's not always fair and b)sometimes you have to push past your fear and as Nike says, Just Do It?

It's a sad state of affairs - and parenting - that it's come to this. And it's not just this kid. We let kids make sports teams so they don't feel bad. They could be a huge detriment to the team but make sure they get to play, we don't want them to learn about disappointment. Don't hold them back a grade because they aren't up to snuff with the rest of his class for fear he might give up on school all-together. Make him see that education is important and that people actually care whether he makes it in this life. Teachers are supposed to educate our children and yet they let kids slip through the cracks daily because they're afraid of that kid's parents.

Maybe I'm old school but I feel that kids need to learn about disappointment at a young age. I'm not going to shelter my kids from life lessons only to have them get smacked in the face by it when they step out into the real world. When I was a kid, I was chosen last for teams in gym class. I didn't always make the team. I was denied solos in band and choir (and for the record, I was an awful singer and totally didn't deserve them). I was even told I was too good for a regional all-star softball team because it was for the kids who didn't make the all-star teams in their hometowns.

You know what? I survived. I'm not emotionally scarred. I'll still play softball, sing out loud in front of people, and play a round of kickball if it comes up. Those experiences shaped who I am and I'm thankful for them. If I hadn't had them, and grew up to experience all the disappointment I've dealt with since turning 18, I'd be a shattered soul by now.

So I'd like to thank all the people who thought I was too fat and slow to play decent kickball and put off picking me until it was me or the smelly kid. Thank you to Mr. Cameron for recognizing that I just couldn't hack that solo in show choir (and for sparing all those innocent ears the sound of a dying cow). And thank you to that random coach in McKean for not letting me play. Oh, and thank you to the judges for cheerleading tryouts my 7th grade year. You didn't let me on the squad. I was terrible, you saw that, and you didn't spare my feelings. I'm honestly thankful to all of you, plus many more along the way, for teaching me disappointment.


Heather said...

I LOVE your blog. I am so sick and tired of parents coddling their children-- as a teacher, I see this repeatedly and all too often. It is tiring and frustrating. Of course, J, being a coach sees it on that end too. UGH! Hurray for disappointment... it only makes us stronger, more determined humans.

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