Monday, July 14, 2008

Baseball Season is OVER!!!!

...at least for me and my boy. I ventured out into uncharted territory and was the head coach of a 13-15 year old boys team this year. In a 10 game regular season, we managed to win just 2 (plus a rain-out). We were close in a few losses and got drilled in the rest. It was a learning experience. We went into the tournament against the best team in the league and lost. Then we lost the second game against a team we should have beaten and we were out. Done. Season over. Well, almost. There was still the All-Star thing.

I called it a "thing" because we were not sure what we were going to do this year with All-Stars. Our league is made up of 13-15 year old boys. Our kids play because they love to play the game--that's it. The 7th and 8th graders are picked over to play on fancy travel teams with expensive uniforms and matching equipment bags (don't even get me started about travel baseball--maybe another post) and the Freshman can play on the high school team (which is a good thing). We get what's left--and I'll take them every time. Of course, I wish we could just get ALL of the kids together to see how they do and build up the community--but I just said I wouldn't get into it about why travel baseball sucks...the life out of a community.

There's a point to all of this. With our league being the way it is, having an All-Star team is a challenge because you can put together a team of great kids but then if you take them to area or regional tournaments, you're often playing travel teams or older kids because most leagues are not put together like ours. These teams have an advantage on teams like ours. It wouldn't be a big deal to just do it, but it's expensive, very time consuming and just plain humiliating for the kids. When you ask parents for a lot of money for uniforms (we're talking about over $100), league fees, travel, etc., they EXPECT something--even if they don't understand what their kids are up against.

I'm not one who feels like every playing field should be leveled (which is why I hate "class basketball" in Indiana high schools), but it's better for the kids when they at least have an avenue for success. During most years, putting our kids up against these travel teams and older teams is not an avenue for success. So, this year we split up our six teams into two divisions (East and West) and selected two All-Star teams to play each other in a best-of-five game series. It was a blast and boy did it build community. Everything was compressed into one week. During this time we had two massive downpours. That meant that the coaches ended up coming to the field to pump out the water and prepare the fields for game play--twice. We practiced Monday and Tuesday and then had games Wednesday through Sunday!! That's because we (i.e. the East All-Stars) lost the first two games and then tied it up by winning the next two which forced a tie-breaker game on Sunday (which was supposed to be the second game of a double header on Saturday but was moved due to RAIN). By the time we got around to the last game, our parents were throwing impromptu tailgate parties. We experienced community, played great baseball, and had a blast doing it.

I should also mention that we won the last game and, thus, the tournament. It was the best time I've ever had as a coach (and I've been an Assistant Coach quite a few times). Here's a picture of everyone after the big win. Since I didn't get permission to show everyone else, you can only see Big Doofus and Little Doofus. Trust me when I say that the rest of the kids and coaches had BIG smiles on their faces. You cannot tell, but I was drenched by several coolers filled with ICE COLD water--it was a feeling that I never want to forget.

10 comments:

skypigeon said...

At least you have your head on straight about how to coach this fine game, brother. A friend of mine went through unbelievable misery this season because the head coach treated the whole thing like a high school squad--only playing the "best" players, berating the kids who weren't the "best," playing politics with the parents, and generally getting head full of ego about the whole thing. With a group of ELEVEN YEAR OLDS.

I'd rather see my kid on a team like yours than a team like that (if he weren't too old and gave a crap about baseball in general)...

Rebekah said...

every one looks so Happy

Mr. E said...

At least you guys had fun during your season. I coached my son's T-Ball team for two years. I had a blast with the little guys.

By the way--Did you watch Josh Hamilton at the Home Run Derby last night! Wow! I hope Volquez continues to do well for your Reds.

Mr. E said...

Thanks for the heads up on the new blog. I was at the Texas Rangers game on Saturday (they lost to the White Sox) and I checked out Josh Hamilton shirts. They ranged anywhere from $35.00 to $60.00 depending if you just wanted a t-shirt or a jersey type shirt. You may be better off buying one off e-bay or off MLB.com Stores. I'm not sure where else to get a Hamilton shirt other than at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, TX.

Uvulapie said...

At least you guys had fun during your season. I coached my son's T-Ball team for two years. I had a blast with the little guys.

By the way--Did you watch Josh Hamilton at the Home Run Derby last night! Wow! I hope Volquez continues to do well for your Reds.

Big Doofus said...

uvulapie - how many points do you get in baseball when the goalie scores a touchdown right before the shot clock buzzer goes off?

Uvulapie said...

HAT TRICK!

Six points for a touch down, one for a field goal, um, three for a safety? Two points for a basket (though three are possible), a single point for penalty shots, baseball gets one point for each time a player makes it 'round the bases, two if he/she is wearing a funny hat. I think these are correct... it's from memory!

Rebekah said...

Thanks for the link

scott said...

I wish you would have been my Wildcat baseball coach when I was a kid. Those were the days.

If you recall, I went to a very small Christian school through the eighth grade. We pretty much got stomped in the sports we played -- basketball, at least. I fondly recall one game against Blackhawk ending with a score of something like 60-4. Good times.

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Woohoo! Sounds like so much fun for everyone, great way to end the season. My sons have played on 'Bad News Bears' hockey teams every year, and those come from behind victories are the absolute best.