Monday, September 13, 2010

Character Building

As if my tens of readers haven't had enough of baseball, Fall Ball officially began this week. My son Will doesn't typically play Fall Ball but this year is different. This year he was scouted. He's twelve by the way.

I won't go into the particulars mainly because I'm afraid they'll take it out on my son. He was scouted by a club team all summer for, I think, being a big hitter. Turns out his hitting is off right now, probably the result of taking time away from baseball to do things like swim and learn to surf. "Blasphemy." they said, in little league inner circles. You can't learn anything about baseball from swimming.

Well maybe that was the point.

They don't like that on this new team. Because why? Because when his hitting is off, he's of no use to this team. Because you can't make it to the Show if your hitting is off. Oh wait, there is no Show when you're twelve. I forgot.

And so did they.

His coaches that is. They forgot. Let me repeat that. There is no going to the Show when you're twelve. There's also no going to the Show when you're 40 and coaching twelve-year olds. There is however, an opportunity to encourage and teach a love of the game.

The August issue of Esquire featured a "What I've Learned" interview with Larry King. In that interview he said, "Hockey I can teach you in a day. Basketball is basically an understandable game. But it's impossible to teach baseball to an adult — too many nuances."

My son was defeated this weekend after striking out multiple times and then being benched for most of the next game. I made him go running with me, do laundry with me, make his bed and other chores that are inevitable as we get older. I told him, "If nothing else, baseball should be fun. Baseball is a game. Work is a chore."

When they start the game, they don’t yell, “Work ball.” They say, “Play ball.”

NB: Dear Coaches on Will's new team. Take a look at this photo. This is Will hitting yet another homer. I wouldn't count him out.