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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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  • Update:

    Little Sparks got a call from a 19 and under travel team. From what I gather they have a history of being a very good team. Sparks tried out for the team and made the roster.

    They played 3 games this weekend and he is the starting short stop and pitched two innings. He said his arm isn't ready to pitch just yet.

    I can tell you I've never seen (in person) the talent I saw on the baseball field this weekend. Wow these boys (all of them) are very very good.

    I can't tell you how much of a joy it was to watch him play this weekend.....just pure heaven. I loved every hot 95 degree in the hot sun second of it.

    Little Sparks said he really really misses the game and his hoping to get noticed and maybe play again somewhere at the college level.

    Few people in life get a second chance so maybe he can work hard and..... well who knows.

    Sparks

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
      hoping to get noticed and maybe play again somewhere at the college level.
      Good for little sparks.

      A guy I'm working with, who missed a couple years of baseball, is playing summer ball, and is being looked at by a couple of colleges. It can happen.
      efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

      Comment


      • Have him delete all of his social media accounts.

        Comment


        • How's the travel team going for "little" sparks? Playing well?

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          • Update:

            Travel ball was....well interesting. They only played 3 tournaments. 3 major tournaments against the best players in the country.
            The coach was a great guy heck he paid for everything. These were very expensive tournaments and he didn't ask parents for money or anything.
            After they lost the first two tournaments he flew in some players from out of the country to try and help the team.... no luck they still lost. Next thing we know he disbands the team. Nothing against the coach but I guess he just wanted to win.

            As for Sparks? No idea.... I know he got limited playing time but his hopes were on this coach. It just didn't work out.

            Right now he is lost....because of decisions he's made in his life he's just lost. Wants to play baseball so bad but can't find a team/school. He really messed up by not keeping his grades up even though he was kicked off the team at Snead State.

            To be honest I'm worried. I know without a doubt he is where he is because of decisions he's made. What do I do? I mean I love the little guy but damn he just wont listen. He wants to play baseball but doesn't seem to want to do the things it takes to achieve his goal.

            Right now I think he is realizing his baseball life is probably over. I sent him over to our local college to sign up (they don't have a baseball team) just so he can move on with his life. He delayed and delayed and finally after I threatened him he went over on the very last day to sign up. To late..... he didn't have all the documents he needed and well.....it is what it is.

            Today I paid for him to go to a showcase down at Tuscaloosa to a jr. college. He is too old it is for high school players. I emailed the coach and ask if little Sparks could come even though he is 19. Coach said sure. Of course its just more money for him... that's fine with me but it's a shot in the dark for little Sparks. He's just hoping to get the coach to look at him and maybe ask him to play next semester.

            Frankly I'm lost. My goodness if he would have just listened to me the past few years he could probably have gone to a D1 school and been a part of a team.

            I'm just lost and even I'm hoping this showcase he's at today will at least give him some direction or something.

            Sparks

            Comment


            • Sparks,
              Thanks for the update.
              As a Dad of a large family sometimes the best for our kids is the hardest for parents. IMO, sparks jr. needs to get a job or join the military. If he is staying with you I would charge him rent. From my own experience, throwing money at him will not help. He needs to buckle up or move out.

              Comment


              • Sparks, tough times for sure for the both of you....I can somewhat relate.

                My oldest boy was able to get recruited by a two JUCOs in our area, chose the one closest to home....I think more for convenience as it was only a few miles from our house at the time, but I'm just guessing.

                Anywho, baseball was great, hours on the field, playing with some of the best guys from "rival" schools you competed against when in HS, cool practice, warmup, game day, and travel clothes for free. Didn't get to play much (OK, hardly at all), but who cares the guys ahead of him were sophomores and graduating next year, so what the heck....as long as he was out on the baseball field most of the day, life was good.

                Things rolled along nicely his first year of college....so I thought. Turns out, he was having soooo much fun out on the baseball field, he somehow forgot about the reason he was there....to get an education!

                Now I'll take some blame for this also, as I didn't do my due diligence of checking up on his studies and grades as I should have, and did when he was in HS (did OK then, "B/B-" student"), but mistakenly thought he was a "big boy" college student, and should get it done himself.....hmmm, not so much.

                Fast forward a year, after he played summer ball with the college team, did quite well, had flown back to see Coach Weaver ("catchingcoach") to get his "pop time" in the 1.9s (only weak part of his game), we were looking forward to a great upcoming season. But then "The Day" came.....

                The previous season the HC kept messing with his swing, and by the end of the year my kids swing was a disaster, which we finally got corrected over the summer, but come school time, son tells me coach is back to messing with his swing again. This sounds odd to me, since my son was back to hitting so well in both his college and TB teams by the end of the summer season, and in the winter ball he was playing....but if you say so son.

                After the completion of the semester of school just before the regular college ball semester/season is to start, my son comes to me on "The Day", to tell me that he's "finally had enough, and went into the coach's office to talk about him wanting to change his swing again". When I asked him who it went he said, "I told the coach I couldn't hit the way he wanted me to, and that he wouldn't let me hit unless I hit the way he wanted me to....he basically agreed, so I thanked him for his honesty about that, and quit the team. Not exactly sure which adjective best described my feelings right at the moment, but that's not really why I'm writing.....

                I'm writing, because come to find out, that wasn't the reason my son wasn't going to be playing that coming semester, and possibly season....turns out, him putting baseball so high on his priority list the season before, his grades were such a mess, that he was academically ineligible to play at the beginning of the season.....and on academic probation at the school.

                Well, since mom and I were footing the school bill, we gave him one of two options.....1.) Seal your records at this school, start again at another school and no baseball, and we'll continue to pay for school, or 2.) Stay at your current school, you pay all the school bills, and you can do whatever. He smartly chose option #1, basically wasting a year and a half of his "college" life, and started over at the new school.

                So to finally land this cross-country flight....when it comes to this....
                Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                Today I paid for him to go to a showcase down at Tuscaloosa to a jr. college. He is too old it is for high school players. I emailed the coach and ask if little Sparks could come even though he is 19. Coach said sure. Of course its just more money for him... that's fine with me but it's a shot in the dark for little Sparks. He's just hoping to get the coach to look at him and maybe ask him to play next semester.

                Frankly I'm lost. My goodness if he would have just listened to me the past few years he could probably have gone to a D1 school and been a part of a team.

                I'm just lost and even I'm hoping this showcase he's at today will at least give him some direction or something.
                ....all I'm getting at is make sure he's "hoping to get the coach to look at him", and you're "hoping this showcase he's at today will at least give him some direction" for the right reasons.

                It's not about going to school to play baseball, but to go to school to get an education, which it doesn't seem that he's showed you he's even interested in....
                Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                I sent him over to our local college to sign up (they don't have a baseball team) just so he can move on with his life. He delayed and delayed and finally after I threatened him he went over on the very last day to sign up. To late..... he didn't have all the documents he needed and well.....it is what it is...
                Yes, "it is what it is"....if he'll only go to school if he thinks some coach might put him on a team there, then "it is" simply "Throwing good money after bad", and you really need to sit down, and reassess why you're going to be paying for that.

                Oh, and here's an update on my oldest if you're interested: One semester short of getting his AA degree at the new college, he decided that he wanted to become a firefighter, got a full time job driving an ambulance to support himself during the fire academy that he needed to attend to qualify. Went to the fire academy, failed the timed ladder event by a couple seconds at the half way point of the academy in order to continue on with it, went back to driving the ambulance to save up again to go back through the fire academy that he had a spot open for him since he had done so well in all of the other portions prior to the ladder test.....that was two years ago and he's still driving an ambulance, keeps talking about a fire department job, but has yet to get off his a$$ to go back to the fire academy.
                Yep, "it is what it is".....good my luck son, hope you figure it out one day, because mom and dad ain't paying no more. "Three strikes, and you're out." :headbeat:
                Last edited by mudvnine; 08-22-2015, 11:20 AM.
                In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

                Comment


                • Mud
                  Thanks for your post and I agree with all you said.

                  Personally I had a dream that I lost. Wanted to be a writer but finally had to give up the dream.

                  I think little Sparks is scared. His life is in front of him and he's lost his dream. God if we could only bare our kids burdens. But we can't.

                  My wife and I were in the process of doing the things you said. It hurts me far worse but some things we must do.

                  Thanks again for post.

                  Sparks


                  Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

                  Comment


                  • Sparks:

                    Thanks for getting back to us and delivering the update. Even if it's not good news, you realize by now that our interest in your boy goes far beyond anything related to baseball, and we'd like to know what's happening - the story is not over for him or for us.

                    The good news out of it goes back to that something that is of value in sports or other such activities - for too many kids, they don't care much about anything, and caring for something like baseball or music or drama at least gets them in the habit of reaching for a goal. Unfortunately, for him, that hasn't been enough to overcome the huge set of obstacles he's placed in his way, and so his only routes now are longshots, at best.

                    Now that my son is starting his senior year of college but has stayed in the game (playing summer college ball), I've been able to follow a number of talented players who were his peers but had far better potential - and the vast majority of them have fallen by the wayside, whether through injury or changes in coaches, etc. But at the end of the day the setbacks haven't ended baseball careers that would have moved on to something else, but simply ended them a couple years earlier than might have occurred. None were going to have gone onto the pros ... but all these kids were determined to play out the string through the end of college; alas, that determination has caused them to make academic decisions that were often unfortunate - accepting admission at lesser academic schools or schools with a bad fit in the hopes of playing for another couple seasons.

                    Can't say that I have any magic advice. It sounds like your young man has reconciled himself to not playing college ball, and maybe it's what he needs to do to engage himself with his college work or whatever life he wants to at least start for himself. A job, or college, or the military may get him that focus. And he should realize that he stayed with the game longer and had moments on the field that the vast majority of those kids he started out with ten years or so ago never even came close to achieving.
                    sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

                    Comment


                    • Baseball ends for everyone sometime. Life goes on.

                      What a thread. Real life stuff.
                      efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

                      Comment


                      • As ST said, at some point, it will end for every single kid (whether that's at age 14 or 40).

                        Sparks, when his playing days are over and he comes to terms with that fact, I wonder if he would be interested in the coaching side of things. There are a lot of life lessons to be shared to HS age kids that they need to hear from someone who has "been there, done that".
                        Ty Cobb-"Every great batter works on the theory that the pitcher is more afraid of him than he is of the pitcher."

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by chief2791 View Post
                          As ST said, at some point, it will end for every single kid (whether that's at age 14 or 40).

                          Sparks, when his playing days are over and he comes to terms with that fact, I wonder if he would be interested in the coaching side of things. There are a lot of life lessons to be shared to HS age kids that they need to hear from someone who has "been there, done that".
                          I think the bigger issue is Sparks Jr. getting his act together. This probably won't happened until he is forced to live on his own.
                          A coach needs to not only understand the game but should be a positive role model for those kids.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by chief2791 View Post
                            As ST said, at some point, it will end for every single kid (whether that's at age 14 or 40).

                            Sparks, when his playing days are over and he comes to terms with that fact, I wonder if he would be interested in the coaching side of things. There are a lot of life lessons to be shared to HS age kids that they need to hear from someone who has "been there, done that".
                            Chief it has always been my dream for him to coach baseball. I knew his size would always be a factor in his playing days. Which is why I think he is perfect for a D2 school. It was my hope he would go play at a D2 school and get into coaching.

                            At this point I'm just trying to get him out of bed. I swear the kid sleeps 25 hours a day. It's just frustrating....hoping I can get through to him somehow.

                            Thanks for the post.....

                            Sparks

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                              Chief it has always been my dream for him to coach baseball. I knew his size would always be a factor in his playing days. Which is why I think he is perfect for a D2 school. It was my hope he would go play at a D2 school and get into coaching.

                              At this point I'm just trying to get him out of bed. I swear the kid sleeps 25 hours a day. It's just frustrating....hoping I can get through to him somehow.

                              Thanks for the post.....

                              Sparks

                              You get through to him by practicing tough love. He is an adult now and needs to start acting like one with responsibilities.

                              Have him get a part time job and pay rent. If that doesn't work tell him to either join the service or strike out on his own.

                              Guess what? I hate having to get out of bed in the morning but I do so because I have responsibilities and bills to pay.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                                At this point I'm just trying to get him out of bed. I swear the kid sleeps 25 hours a day. It's just frustrating....hoping I can get through to him somehow.
                                Sparks, it's time to get professional help if you have not already. You're descriptions of this young man are sounding more, and more symptomatic of a clinical depression that will only to grow worse if not treated professionally.

                                He will deny it, but the writing is on the wall....
                                Originally posted by WebMD
                                What Is Major or Clinical Depression?
                                Most people feel sad or low at some point in their lives. But clinical depression is marked by a depressed mood most of the day, particularly in the morning, and a loss of interest in normal activities and relationships -- symptoms that are present every day for at least 2 weeks. In addition, according to the DSM-5 -- a manual used to diagnose mental health conditions -- you may have other symptoms with major depression. Those symptoms might include:
                                • Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day.
                                • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day.
                                • Impaired concentration, indecisiveness.
                                • Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day.
                                • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day (called anhedonia, this symptom can be indicated by reports from significant others).
                                • Restlessness or feeling slowed down.
                                • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide.
                                • Significant weight loss or gain (a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month).
                                ....so if you can't convince him to get help, at least seek professional guidance for yourself (and Mrs. Sparks) in how to deal with someone going through this, or you too will find yourself dragged down right with him, curled up next to him for the same 25 hours out of the day, and then no one's going to be able to help anyone.

                                Don't let him not playing baseball any longer take a major toll on your family. It might look and feel like the end of the world to all as you know, but in a few years....if you're all able to pull out of the funk....it will seem like such a small insignificant thing that had you all worked up over really nothing.

                                And remember, I'm speaking from first hand experience with my two boys (26, and soon to be 21) who went through similar feelings of disappointment when they were finally not handed a uniform any longer....but are now moving on with their lives, are happy, and doing what they both enjoy (even if dad thinks oldest should be doing something more and different, but I digress).

                                So there really is life after stepping out of the batter's box or off the pitcher's rubber....it's just that we all must find that something that let's us stay connected to the game, in whatever capacity suits each of us best (coach at some level, or at the college and pro levels...admin/general management, baseball operations, broadcast, field/facility operations, finance, information systems/technical support, retail, sales & marketing....or merely just as a fan).

                                Best of luck, we'll all be thinking of and praying for you guys. As Ursa said, you're part of this big ol' extended BBF family, so don't feel you're ever going it alone.


                                mud -
                                Last edited by mudvnine; 08-30-2015, 11:45 AM.
                                In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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