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  • Ursa,

    Thanks for your kind words. Last nights game is the talk of the town around here today. Everyone is talking about the 12 and 13 year old team that intentionally walked a ten-year old batter.

    I've got no way of posting his swing. I have an old camcorder that isn't digital.

    Amazing what happened last night...I'm still in shock. The triple he hit was the best hit ball he has ever hit during a game. I just don't think he is big enough to hit one over the fence just yet.

    Comment


    • Ok, I put a simple webpage up for my boy. I may take it down at some point (I haven't decided yet).
      This is just a little page for him to share with his friends.

      http://www.lamarcook.com/Levi.htm

      Comment


      • We had our first All-Star practice last night. It just so happens that the team who intentionally walked my boy the other night had a game at the same time on the field next to our practice field. The coach came over and talked to me about my ten year old. He said he had never seen a better swing in a hitter in all his years of baseball. During the game he told his pitcher not to throw anything slow to my boy. His exact words were....the harder my pitcher threw the more your boy turned on it. He said he has never seen a little league player turn on a fastball like my boy turns on one.

        Needless to say I felt about 20 feet tall. I told him my boy doesn't get it naturally. He works in my backyard every single day usually for a couple of hours.

        Like I said before: I don't know how my boy will grow but for now I am really enjoying watching him do so well. Who knows, next year the other kids might be just as good as him or even better. But I have the privilage of knowing that for a brief time my boy was just about as good as anyone I've ever seen. Can he get better? Holy cow he has miles to go...I wish I had the means to get him a professional coach. There is no telling how much better he could be with a great coach. Hey, I'm just a granddad who watches baseball on TV and reads a few books. Most coaches have forgotten far more than I will ever know about the greatest game in the world.

        We have one game left in the season (actually my boy has two because he has one more game with the 12 and 13 year old team). I figured his batting average.
        In the 9 and 10 year old league he's batting .667 with 7 homeruns.
        In the 12 and 13 year old league he's hitting over .400 with one homerun.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Sparksdale
          The truth of the matter is it is almost impossible to coach your own kids. HE thinks because he is the best player and my kid that he should be allowed to do what he wants. Now this is pretty normal for a 10 year old but he does take it to extremes. Now again, he is growing up so he has a lot to learn in life.
          sounds familiar

          look your making a great decision just letting the kid play dont ever push him too hard or push him into playing something let him choose because if you choose for him hell get tired of it if you let him choose then that means his mind is into it and thats what he wants

          Comment


          • Thank all of You!

            There is something I would like to share with all of you.

            One of the reasons I come over here and post about my grandson is because I can no longer tell the person who I want to tell these stories to so very much. My dad died last year and he and I loved baseball. I loved to hear his stories about when he played. He was a great player and unfortunately his son wasn’t blessed with the talent for his dad to enjoy. Oh, I played but I wasn’t very good. I had a bad arm and I blew my knee out in 9th grade. I gave it my all and my dad was proud but he knew his son was below average at best.

            My dad died last year before my boy ever played his first game. As a matter of fact my dad and I talked about my grandson playing. At the time my grandson was heavy into soccer and he never wanted to play baseball. Part of the reason he didn’t want to play was because of me. I hit him in the eye when he was 4 years old and he never forgot that hit.

            Anyway, to make a long story short, I long to call my dad and tell him these stories that I tell all of you. So in a way, this a way for me to remember my dad and the love he and I shared for baseball. In my opinion there is no greater game.

            I would like to share a story I wrote in honor of my dad. It is a true story that I wrote about my most fond memory in life. I’ve shared this story with family and friends for years and every year someone contacts me wanting a copy.

            Thanks for letting me come over here and brag about my 10 year old. I can tell you it gives me great pleasure to tell others. I know the other parents around here must be tired of me by now. So in a way, it is fitting that I share my love for this game with strangers. Then again, we aren’t strangers are we? If we share the love of baseball then we all are part of a big family that shares a common love so something so simple yet few have mastered the fundamental things such as throwing, hitting and catching a small white ball.

            Here is the story and I’ll also provide a link to my website which has the story listed.

            http://www.lamarcook.com/myfavoritechristmas.htm

            My Favorite Christmas
            Allow me if you will to tell you a true story of my most fond memory in life.
            One day, while in school a friend told me there was no Santa Claus. This was not something an eight year old wanted to hear or believe. I began by telling him about the reindeer and the presents under the Christmas tree and of course most of all about baby Jesus.
            He replied by asking me two questions. “If Santa is real how does he go into every house all over the world in a single night?”
            I smiled, I knew the answer to this one but he continued. “If Santa is real, why do you see different Santa’s in stores during Christmas time?” I sat in my chair and lifted my head up with pride because I knew the answer. Innocently I replied, “Santa is magic.”
            As the day became night and I sat in my grandmother’s house I reflected on the questions my friend had asked. There was one person who would tell me the truth; she would never lie to me. My father was having some financial difficulties at the time and we were forced to live with my grandmother.
            Standing in the doorway of her bedroom I saw her. She sat quietly on her bed reading a book. “Granny?” I said as if I was asking a question.
            “Yes dear? She softly replied.
            I told her about my day and what my friend had told me. I was sure she would give me an answer to take back to my friend, so I waited for her words of wisdom. Gently she laid the book down and motioned for me to sit on the bed next to her. With her voice soft and quiet and almost in a whisper she began to tell me the words that would change my life.
            “I was hoping you wouldn’t have to hear this but there is something you must know. Your father has been laid off from his job and times are hard. I hope you will not be disappointed when you cannot have all the things you want for Christmas. But know this, your father loves you very much.” Gracefully she pulled me into her arms and hugged me with a hug that only a loving grandmother can give. Whispering into my ear as though she knew her words would tear into my heart she softly spoke with so much emotion in her voice that she could hardly speak. “My dear, every child should believe in Santa, you are too young to have to bear this burden but I know you are strong. There is no Santa Claus.” I knew my grandmother would never lie to me and from that day forward I knew there was no Santa.
            Christmas was approaching I had not let my parents know of my discovery. We had found a small home to rent. We were poor but happy. The day came when my mother would take me to see Santa. I sat in his lap with a concerned look on my face not sure what I should do. It was the mind of a child and I was lost between despair and bliss. In some way, in the back of my mind, I wanted to believe but I couldn’t. In his usual jolly way Santa asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I could see out of the corner of my eye that my mother was listening intently to every word and to make sure she could hear I spoke with clarity.
            “Santa,” I said proudly, “I would like a pair of gloves for Christmas.” Quietly I whispered into his ear that my Dad was out of work and I knew he could not afford to get me very many things this year. I didn’t lie. You must remember the mind of a child at work here, for some reason I wanted a pair of gloves for Christmas and I wanted them badly. Of course I wanted something else but I knew that was impossible. Santa handed me a piece of candy and my mother smiled as she took my hand and we left for home.
            Years have passed now and I don’t remember a lot about that Christmas, but I do remember every single minute of Christmas Eve. It was 2 in the morning and my dad woke me from a restless sleep. He had a huge smile and glistened with a gleam in his eye I will never forget.
            “Son, Santa just left…”
            That was all I heard, I was out of my bed in a flash and I ran into the living room where the tree stood. On the end table sat a half empty glass of milk and the cookies I had laid out for Santa. Dad stood next too the milk and cookies, and as he rubbed his stomach he told me Santa didn’t’ have time for the cookies but he said the milk hit the spot.
            Under the tree sat four presents, two for my sister and two for me. I can’t explain to you what I was feeling at this moment, all I remember is I was happy and sad at the same time. I opened my big package and it was a new suit to wear to church. In the other package was a pair of black tight fitting gloves, which was just what I wanted. I knew times were hard but at the same time I was sad because I didn’t get what I wanted most of all.
            I thanked my mom and dad and told them I was sleepy and I went back to bed. I wasn’t sleepy. I just didn’t want my dad to see me cry. I didn’t want him to know how disappointed I was. Unable to sleep I lay in bed for several minutes looking at the full moon that glared through my bedroom window. Suddenly my dad came bursting in, “Son,” he said with excitement, “Are you going to bed before you open your last present?”
            “What last present?” I replied.
            “Come and see,” he said with a grin.
            As I stood in the living room I saw the most incredible thing I had ever seen. Sitting in that little living room with one couch and a 13” black and white television was the most beautiful go-cart I had ever seen.
            Later I discovered what had happened. My dad’s heart was broken after I went back to bed. Somehow he knew I was trying to be brave and he couldn’t stand the thought of his son going to bed on Christmas Eve thinking he had let me down. He had planned a big surprise for me on Christmas day; he wanted me to see the go-cart on Christmas morning but once he heard his son crying, alone in his bedroom, he brought the go-cart inside.
            I don’t remember exactly when I found out. Looking back I think it was the day after Christmas. As I played outside I saw my dad walking to work. Even an eight year old could tell something was wrong. When I asked him why he was walking he replied that it was good for people to walk and he needed the exercise. What I didn’t know was my father had sold the only possession he had left. He had sold his car so he could give his only son the greatest Christmas present in the world.
            Yes there is a Santa Claus I told my friend at school and he walks to work everyday.
            I hope you enjoyed this story, it is true and it is my most fond memory in life. When times are hard and things aren’t going quite like I would like I remember that Christmas and it warms my heart.
            Last edited by Sparksdale; 06-14-2006, 10:08 PM.

            Comment


            • Final

              We played our final game of the season tonight. This ends my tenure as a coach. I enjoyed coaching the kids.
              We finished with 9 wins and 5 loses. Tonight, I moved every player on defense at least twice and allowed all my boys to play several positions on the last game of the year. I also allowed the three remaining players who hadn't pitched to pitch to at least two batters tonight.

              The final game wasn't about winning. It was about the kids having fun and playing a different position. It's amazing that we won but I'll take a win any day.

              On a personal note my boy went three for three in the 9 and 10 year old game. He had two singles and a homerun. So his final batting average for this year was .704 with 7 homeruns in the 9 and 10 year old division.

              He also played a game with the 12 and 13 year old team tonight. He went 2 for 2 in that game with a single and a double and was also hit by a pitch. His season ending batting average in the 12 and 13 year old division was well over .500 but I don't have the exact batting average. He also hit a homerun this year in the 12 and 13 year old league. So in all he had a total of 8 homers.

              Now All Star begins.

              One more thing. Something happened tonight that really got me. One of the parents really got on my case because I took his boy off of first base and put him in the outfield. My first baseman was only 8 years old and he had cost us three games this year because of bad play. Now I don't mind a boy making mistakes but he simply couldn't catch the ball. I mean he couldn't catch it at all. I explained to the boy (and the parent) that I felt he was a little over matched at first and it would be best if he played another position until he gets more experience. I mean this parent really got on my case about this.
              I tell you, I've spent a lot of my own money for this team and I've spent countless hours with these kids. I did all this for free and never asked anything from the parents. I really don't understand a parent doing this when I have given so much of myself for the love thier child.
              All of the other parents told me the loved the way I ran the team because I allowed the players to play different positions and have fun during the season. I never treated any one player better than another.

              Oh well, it's things like that that leave a bad taste in your mouth.

              Comment


              • Update

                Update:
                Well, we played our first All-Star game tonight.

                I stepped aside from coaching the All-Star team. The coach gave my boy the nod to start the first game of the tournament. I told him before the game that it was a great honor that the coach picked him over his own son to pitch the first game (his son is a good pitcher as well)
                My boy was incredible tonight.....I mean simply amazing. The team we played was one of the teams favored to win the tournament. The night before they scored 15 runs in their first game and won. I had little hope of us competing with these kids. Little did I know that my boy was going to step up and really put on a show.
                He pitched a complete game and gave up 3 hits. Only two balls were hit out of the infield against him all night. He gave up 4 runs....(remember this team scored 15 runs the night before against a pitcher that many consider to be one of the best 10 year old pitchers around our area).

                It was an amazing night for all of us tonight. My boy is the talk of the town. It's the first time my city has won a 9 and 10 year old all star game in years. All these big city teams come in with their sponsors and shiny new baseballs and $300 bats...my boy just played an amazing game and was ready for the challenge. I asked him if he was nervous before the game and what do you think his answer was? No! And he was serious. He has a lot of confidence in himself. I was far more nervous than he was.

                I don' t know how far we will go in this tournament. These other teams kids are so much bigger than us and none of them have weak bats. They all seem to have great hitters all the way down the lineup. We have 11 players on my team and probably 4 good hitters. We have two players that didn't get a single hit all year and they made the all star team simply because they were old enough......go figure.

                Anyway, what ever else happens in this tournament it wont take away tonight because tonight was a magical night that I will always remember. This is truly the greatest game on earth.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Sparksdale
                  Update:
                  Well, we played our first All-Star game tonight.

                  I stepped aside from coaching the All-Star team. The coach gave my boy the nod to start the first game of the tournament. I told him before the game that it was a great honor that the coach picked him over his own son to pitch the first game (his son is a good pitcher as well)
                  My boy was incredible tonight.....I mean simply amazing. The team we played was one of the teams favored to win the tournament. The night before they scored 15 runs in their first game and won. I had little hope of us competing with these kids. Little did I know that my boy was going to step up and really put on a show.
                  He pitched a complete game and gave up 3 hits. Only two balls were hit out of the infield against him all night. He gave up 4 runs....(remember this team scored 15 runs the night before against a pitcher that many consider to be one of the best 10 year old pitchers around our area).

                  It was an amazing night for all of us tonight. My boy is the talk of the town. It's the first time my city has won a 9 and 10 year old all star game in years. All these big city teams come in with their sponsors and shiny new baseballs and $300 bats...my boy just played an amazing game and was ready for the challenge. I asked him if he was nervous before the game and what do you think his answer was? No! And he was serious. He has a lot of confidence in himself. I was far more nervous than he was.

                  I don' t know how far we will go in this tournament. These other teams kids are so much bigger than us and none of them have weak bats. They all seem to have great hitters all the way down the lineup. We have 11 players on my team and probably 4 good hitters. We have two players that didn't get a single hit all year and they made the all star team simply because they were old enough......go figure.

                  Anyway, what ever else happens in this tournament it wont take away tonight because tonight was a magical night that I will always remember. This is truly the greatest game on earth.

                  When you say most of the kids are bigger and they dont have weak bats, that doesn't matter in all-stars. I have been playing for a little league team that has 16,17, and 18 years old in it for three years, made allstars all three years, and I am one of two players on my team of 15 that is 18.

                  We are pretty solid batting and pitching wise, but not so great on our right side defensively. I'd say our average height is 5'8" on the team, and every other team has kids that are mainly 18 and way above 6 foot. It's pretty intimidating, or it was pretty intimidating the first year. We didn't go anywhere in the allstars and went 0-5 for both district and conference tournament play.

                  But, last year we got a bunch of 16 year olds on the team, not too big or heavy hitting, but we won all our games. made it out of district to sectionals then out of sectionals to regionals. We finished 3rd in the state of Texas for seniors little league. Now, the team we lost to were a bunch or small kids who were quick and smart. I'd like to say everyone on that team was 16 probably, while we had the majority of 18 year olds.

                  And, this year, we are 6-0 already in our Arlington Invitational and about to enter district play. Most of us are 16 and 17 and small, but i honestly dont think the size matters. Its really just about who comes to play. We are ranked as 2nd in the state of Texas for seniors this year and no one is over 6'1" on the team.

                  Its just about who wants it more.
                  Texas Ranger Baseball 2008..

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Sparksdale
                    Update:
                    Well, we played our first All-Star game tonight.

                    I stepped aside from coaching the All-Star team. The coach gave my boy the nod to start the first game of the tournament. I told him before the game that it was a great honor that the coach picked him over his own son to pitch the first game (his son is a good pitcher as well)
                    My boy was incredible tonight.....I mean simply amazing. The team we played was one of the teams favored to win the tournament. The night before they scored 15 runs in their first game and won. I had little hope of us competing with these kids. Little did I know that my boy was going to step up and really put on a show.
                    He pitched a complete game and gave up 3 hits. Only two balls were hit out of the infield against him all night. He gave up 4 runs....(remember this team scored 15 runs the night before against a pitcher that many consider to be one of the best 10 year old pitchers around our area).

                    It was an amazing night for all of us tonight. My boy is the talk of the town. It's the first time my city has won a 9 and 10 year old all star game in years. All these big city teams come in with their sponsors and shiny new baseballs and $300 bats...my boy just played an amazing game and was ready for the challenge. I asked him if he was nervous before the game and what do you think his answer was? No! And he was serious. He has a lot of confidence in himself. I was far more nervous than he was.

                    I don' t know how far we will go in this tournament. These other teams kids are so much bigger than us and none of them have weak bats. They all seem to have great hitters all the way down the lineup. We have 11 players on my team and probably 4 good hitters. We have two players that didn't get a single hit all year and they made the all star team simply because they were old enough......go figure.

                    Anyway, what ever else happens in this tournament it wont take away tonight because tonight was a magical night that I will always remember. This is truly the greatest game on earth.
                    Did your boy also play the other 8 positions and bat 1st-9th in the lineup? If he gave up 4 runs, I suspect his team scored at least 5 runs, no? If they scored a lot more, maybe the cushion they gave him had something to do with his amazing performance, especially if they gave him an early lead so that he could relax. Maybe some of his teammates made some amazing plays to get him some outs? Or did he strikeout every batter?

                    You might spend a little more time giving credit where else it's due than standing in front of your mirror.
                    Last edited by MSandman; 06-25-2006, 08:51 AM.

                    Comment


                    • understand

                      Originally posted by MSandman
                      Did your boy also play the other 8 positions and bat 1st-9th in the lineup? If he gave up 4 runs, I suspect his team scored at least 5 runs, no? If they scored a lot more, maybe the cushion they gave him had something to do with his amazing performance, especially if they gave him an early lead so that he could relax. Maybe some of his teammates made some amazing plays to get him some outs? Or did he strikeout every batter?

                      You might spend a little more time giving credit where else it's due than standing in front of your mirror.
                      I understand what you are saying. Yes the defense played great behind him. I've said before, on this thread, that I use this site as more of a sounding board. Since my father died I don't really have anyone to go to and tell everything that's happening with my boy. So this is kind of a release for me. I don't know, maybe my dad can read the internet sites now that he is gone.

                      I'm just a granddad who is living his dream through his grandson and a granddad who misses his father most of all when the smell of the freshly cut grass of summer baseball fills my senses. Now that dad is gone I find myself missing him over the smallest of things. Just when my boy gets a hit or strikes a batter out I find myself whispering (did you see that dad?).
                      In the end Baseball is about father and son (and mother and daughter of course). Its the one game that any kid can play regardless of their size or ability. It's the dream of getting the big hit or catching the winning out. It's the dream that my dad and I shared most of all.

                      Somehow I imagine my dad telling my boy to keep his back elbow up and step into the pitch.

                      Comment


                      • Tonight

                        We played our second game in the tournament tonight. It wasn't pretty.
                        Put it this way, the ten run rule kicked in after four innings and they called the game.
                        Due to the tournament rules my boy wasn't allowed to pitch tonight so he played at SS. He made two errors in the field and the other team lit up our pitcher. Wow it was ugly. I don't know how many errors our team made but it was a lot. I'm not taking anything away from the other team. They beat us straight up and we were simply over matched.

                        As I try to do I try to look for the positives ( when talking about my boys game). On the positive side he went two for three batting with a triple and and two singles. His triple was really a homerun but the ump called him out at homeplate. At least most of us thought he was safe but it really doesn't matter because the game was out of hand by then anyway.

                        So tomorrow we face a team that most consider will win the tournament. This team has average (just guessing) about 24 runs a game in the tournament. This is the 9 and 10 year old league tournament but this team has several 11 year old players. It's something to do with how the birthdays fall or something like that. These big city teams look for good players who play in the 11 and 12 year old division and if thier birthdays fall on or before the cuttoff date then they bring them down. I don't like it but there's nothing that can be done about it.....I mean they aren't breaking the rules but I don't think it is fair. I mean they take kids who haven't played in the 9 and 10 year old league all year yet they play in the 9 and 10 year old tournament because thier birthday is before the cuttoff date. My point is what about the kids who played in the 9 and 10 year old league all year and worked hard? They don't make the all star team because some kid who plays in another division's birthday falls at just the right time.

                        Oh well.....in all honesty I never even hoped we would win this thing. We simply don't have the players to compete against these big city teams. Our all star team has probably 3 maybe 4 pretty good players and we have 4 very weak batters who can't hit at all.

                        But I will say this. No matter what happens at our next game. Nothing will ever take away the memory of the win we had Saturday night in our first all star game. Everyone there said it was one of the best games they have ever watched. The game hinged on every pitch and every hit... it felt like the world series. It was the most fun I've ever had at a sporting event in my life. For that I thank Little League and all the people who help make this thing possible. Little League is the greatest sport on earth.

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                        • It's over

                          We played our last game of the all star tournament last night. Yes we lost.
                          My boy played the worst game he's ever played....when I tell you it was bad...it was really bad.

                          We lost 27 to 4 and the game was called after four innings.

                          My boy pitched again and was out before the second inning started. Something was wrong with him. He could not throw a strike to save his life.....I mean he was all over the place. Not only that his fastball was slow....very slow. He had pitched the entire game two days before and it was the first time he had ever pitched 6 innings. I think his arm was sore and he didn't tell any of us. Then again maybe he just had a bad night.....I don't know. But something was wrong with him.

                          I will say this. Last night convinced me that I need to get him a good coach, especially a pitching coach. It's ok for a good player to have an off night but he was way off last night. He needs another coach, besides me, who knows more about this game and can take him to the next level.

                          Anyway, I'm kind of down today. I don't mind getting beat but the game was so ugly that it left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm also down because baseball is over. I really love this game and I love watching my boy play.

                          Good luck to everyone.

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                          • If you love the game, learn what you can, and teach it to him. There is a lot time in the off-season.

                            Also I wouldn't have him pitching on one day's rest after a complete game. I don't go hog wild with this pitch count stuff, but at his age, 6 innings in a week is pretty good, and when you go 6, skip a day and throw again you are bound to be a little weaker.

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                            • rest

                              Originally posted by Ohioteamz
                              If you love the game, learn what you can, and teach it to him. There is a lot time in the off-season.

                              Also I wouldn't have him pitching on one day's rest after a complete game. I don't go hog wild with this pitch count stuff, but at his age, 6 innings in a week is pretty good, and when you go 6, skip a day and throw again you are bound to be a little weaker.
                              He had a full two days rest between games so I thought that was enough. He had some problems at home before the game and I wonder if that got to him as well. I don't know.....just to be honest he was very bad last night. He has never ever been that bad before.

                              I tell you this game will really humble you. One day I think he is the greatest player to ever play the game and the next day I wonder if he is any good at all. I wonder of John Smoltz, Greg Maddux and all the great players ever had bad games like that in Little League. You always hear stories of how the great players dominate at the early levels. It makes me wonder if they were ever off at times.

                              I think the rest and time away from the game will do him good. I'm going to wait a week before I let him pick up a baseball and then go out in the backyard and see if he still has his stuff. I don't know how to explain last night other than his arm just looked dead. I've never seen him pitch like that before not even in my backyard.
                              He's interested in playing football. We make look into that this summer. He is a little small for his age so I haven't made my mind up about that yet.

                              sparks

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                              • Hey, Sparks, thanks for the complete update. Let me offer a couple of thoughts. Since you know I'm one of your biggest supporters, I hope they have a little credibility with you.

                                First, kids at this age are going to be all over the place on you. They'll look like superstars in practice all week, then show up and do just what you mentioned -- lob the ball and not come near the strike zone. And all the yelling and pleading and cajoling won't do a thing. Why? Cuz they're ten years old and that's the way they are. And, your boy is susceptible to being even more uneven given his rocky upbringing.

                                Second, it's your job as the grownup to take the longer view here. When he does well, you congratulate him but don't overwhelm him with praise. When he stinks, you tell him, "Good effort, but it wasn't your day." When he picks up a teammate who's feeling down, you give him as much praise as if he hit a home run, because being a good citizen is something that he chose to do; hitting a home run is a product of his gifts and work and a little luck.

                                Third, Sandman is dead on. Once you decide to be a coach, you owe as much responsibility to the other kids as you do your own, to the point of coming down harder on your boy than the others to show you're not playing favorites. With all the focus and praise you heap on your boy, I worry that you may not treat all the other kids evenhandedly. Sometimes it helps to appoint a dad whose judgment you trust to be your reality check and let you know if he sees you playing favorites.

                                Most importantly -- and have your wife monitor you on this -- make sure the kid knows that your love and appreciation for him does not change one whit depending upon whether or not he has a good outing or a bad one.

                                I'm not saying you do this, but how many times have a seen a kid have a bad game and, as the family's loading up the minivan in the parking lot and the kid is walking around with his shoulders slumped and his head down, the "politically correct" dad just sighs dejectedly, jerks his head to motion to the kid to get into the van, and gives him one of those "We'll talk about it when we get home" looks. No yelling, no criticism, but no praise either. That's when you need to find some praise, even if it's just, "I know it wasn't going your way out there, but I was impressed that you stuck with it and didn't lose your cool. That's what courage is about."

                                And whether or not he has a bad outing now and then has no bearing on whether he'll be another Maddux or Chipper Jones. If he had no skills, I'd be worried. But he does, so the question is how Mother Nature gifts him as he grows and whether he gets enough work and decent coaching to get him within striking distance of making the team when he reaches high school. I'm sure both those guys had rough times during their careers. Heck, during Maddux' first two years in the majors, he was 8 and 18 with a 5.60 ERA. I'd rather have a kid on my squad who had to fight to improve after having some tough outings, than a kid who's supernaturally gifted and didn't have to actually learn the game to excel.

                                Yeah, getting him professional coaching isn't a bad idea. And tell the coach what you faced this week, and ask him how to deal with that. But maybe give him some time to play some other sports and learn a musical instrument too. Maybe you both could use a little time off.

                                And give him a hug when he's done nothing to "earn" it. Just 'cuz he's your kid and a good kid. But, you know that. I can tell.
                                sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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