Ah, the crisp warmth of springtime temperatures.
The birds are returning, chirruping their songs. The trees are starting to bloom.
And I can almost hear the glorious ping of aluminum bats from youth league baseball fields all over town.
I say “almost hear,” because for a lot of young players, they won’t produce that sound very often. Sadly, for many of them, they’ve been drilled with the worst five words ever spoken in youth baseball:
“Get your back elbow up!”
*(Adapted from X-Plan Parenting, published by Simon & Schuster’s Howard Books)
Little League All-Stars. District championship game.
Bottom of the sixth. Tie game. Winning run on third. My son emerges from the dugout.
Standing with friends on a hillside above center field, I sigh heavily. I turn away from the field and drop my head onto a buddy’s shoulder. Anxiety and prayer come together in a moment of desperate hope.
Please, God. Let him have this one.
It’s taken me some time to comment on coach Jeff Walz’s rant about participation trophies because … well, to be honest, I am (as coach says) “a loser.”
I have a “participation trophy” from youth football.
My team had a perfect season, a feat few athletes at any level can celebrate. Even the worst teams screw up and win a game a two. But not my football team. The Enslow Bulldogs. Perfection. Not a single win. Never even close.
I have the trophy to prove it.
(Straight out of left field, here are some helpful tips for parents with young baseball players. Baseball season is upon us–HUZZAH!)
Okay, Mom and Dad, consider this scenario: You’re sending your kid down a dark alley where flesh-eating zombies lurk. Your child may carry one weapon, either a 4-foot-long broom handle or a 30-foot-long utility pole.
Which would you hand him/her?
Though my Texas pals might balk, bigger is often not better. That’s certainly the case with youth baseball equipment.
I’ve had the maddening joy of coaching kids at every level in baseball, from tee-ball to young adult state tournament teams. At every level, I’ve seen kids struggle because of one common mistake—they’re using gear that doesn’t fit them.
I realize buying your kid a new bat and glove shouldn’t be rocket science. However, there’s a lot to consider (way more than I’ll attempt to address here).
Here are a few tips to help you pick what’s best for your child.