The Little League in our neighborhood is for parents too. There are moms and dads who spend a lot of time on the fields or hanging out with other parents. So much time that they’ve brought in televisions so that they can enjoy full days at the snack bar with their friends.
Baseball is everything for a lot of parents.
Baseball was everything for my son. He’s a decent player, not the best, and certainly not the worst. There are divisions by age set up but players can “play up” or “play down”. There’s a live draft and a group of fathers who are building up their summer travel teams… sort of cart before the horse. They don’t take the spring season seriously, they’re just building super teams so that they can spend the summers together playing baseball. Ooops, I mean their sons will play baseball. Freudian slip one can only suppose.
Alexander is playing down this year. Based on skill it makes little sense. Based on Little League politics it makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately in addition to playing down he’s on a team where some other kids are playing up. So he’s ten and playing with eight year olds.
He doesn’t want to go to practice this afternoon. I can’t say I blame him but I’m trying to put on a happy face for him. None of his friends are even playing in his division and it feels like Alexander’s been punished by a groups of fathers who make the Mean Girls look dainty.
Part of me wants to shame them but the better part of me knows that it’s probably for the best. It’s unlikely that Alexander will last through the season there, and if he wants to quit I’ll likely let him. I don’t like the idea of kids quitting anything, but I detest the idea of grown men ruining a great game for kids because their horrible egos got in the way. We’re looking at adding two tennis lessons a week and if he does quit baseball he can add a third or possibly a fourth.
I can say with absolute and complete honesty that I despise these men that take a child’s game and turn it into a power play for themselves. I’m not sure what went wrong for them in their lives that they’re unable to think of other people’s children.
I do think that when Alexander gets over this hump of dejection that it will be positive. It’s not like they play baseball at country clubs, right?