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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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  • Obviously, you and he have to "listen" carefully to what's going on there. He's experienced enough and smart enough to have something of a sense of the difference between "sore" and injured. I'm assuming you're talking about triceps soreness. This is a lot less worrisome than a shoulder or elbow pain.

    All I can offer is my experience that about two-thirds of our kids have experienced some kind of arm soreness this "spring", but are comiing out of it after about three weeks of practice. It's very common, and almost never debilitating at his age. Since he took much of the winter off, I'd guess that it's mostly just muscles that haven't been used quite that way for awhile. I think the three-day rest is about right. If it's still hurting as much after that, you may need to see an orthopedist.

    And don't be surprised if his throws don't have some zip for a week or two. In our second game yesterday, Ursa Minor caught a short fly ball with a runner on third and tried to get him at the plate. If it were June, he'd have thrown a laser knee high into the catcher's mitt and had the guy by five feet; as of now, it took two bounces to get there (or would have, but was actually cut off) and the runner was safe.
    sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

    Comment


    • Ursa,

      It's always great to hear from you.

      Yes it is his tricep mucle (I think) at least it is in that area. He said he felt a lot better yesterday after 24 hours rest, although he was still a little sore. I think it's like you said, it's the beginning of the season and he's having to use muscles he hasn't used in a while. Believe me, if I think there is a 1% chance that it's serious I'll be the first one to take him to the doctor.
      I've also noticed that his fastball isn't "live" like it normally is. I haven't put him on the gun and i don't plan to for a few weeks but the ball isn't jumping out of his hand like it usually does. Maybe it'll take a few weeks to get his arm in shape. Meanwhile, I'm going to take it slow and I told him to tell me when and how much it hurts.

      I hope your boy is doing well. There growing up on us you know.

      Sparks

      Comment


      • Little things

        Today I wanted to mention something that I'm sure few coaches/parents notice about their kids. It's one of the "little things" that make me proud of my boy.

        In practice the other night my boy was catching. BTW: he is playing on both travel ball and rec ball....the practice in question was in rec ball.

        He was catching for the coach who was throwing batting practice for the kids. A foul ball hit him square on the arm. It was a solid hit that had to hurt like all hell just broke loose in his arm. All I heard was him grunt like ....UHHHHH. He quickly got the ball and threw it back to the coach at about 60mph..lol

        It's such a small thing that I'm so proud of him. I remember when he would get hit and scream and yell and you all know what I'm talking about....the kids want everyone in the stands to know they just got hit and they'll roll around on the ground and cry and stuff. We'll, my boy took that hit and just shook it off. Yeah, it's a silly little thing but it's just one more sign that he is growing up. I'm probably the only one that noticed it but I'll never forget it.

        I also remember the first time (when he was 8) that I knew he was a little special. He was playing in a soccer game and this kid got the stole the ball from his teammate and started going down field. I can remember this like it was yesterday....the look on my boys face. It was shear determination. He ran after that other kid who was a good 20 yards from him like nothing was going to stop him from getting that ball back. Yeah, he got it back too. It was that face that I'll always remember.....the competitive side of him that I've never noticed in other kids around here. I'll never forget that moment.

        Also, we got a letter from his school the other day. Drum roll please....the letter said that my boy got an award over the entire school for most improved grades. His grades have never been good but last semester he worked his tail off to get all A's and B's. He got all A's and B's and one C. The C he had was in Math and at one point in the semester it was an F. He brought it all the way up to a C. He was just 6 points away from making the honor roll. I'm sure most of your kids make the honor roll every report card and that is great. Most of you know what my boy has gone through in his life so making good grades has always been hard for him.

        That letter is a very special letter to me. It's just one of those little things that we will always remember about our kids. Yeah, the homeruns are nice but I think it's the little things that make this thing called life so special.

        Sparks
        Last edited by Sparksdale; 03-21-2008, 10:21 AM.

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        • It's such a small thing that I'm so proud of him. I remember when he would get hit and scream and yell and you all know what I'm talking about....the kids want everyone in the stands to know they just got hit and they'll roll around on the ground and cry and stuff. We'll, my boy took that hit and just shook it off. Yeah, it's a silly little thing but it's just one more sign that he is growing up. I'm probably the only one that noticed it but I'll never forget it.

          I remember in LL all-stars, when my son got hit in the same spot a second time in two games. This was after getting hit on the other arm and getting a concussion by an errant back swing from the hitter. This all happened in one week. I believe his words as he called time and threw down his mitt were "Son of a (female dog)!!!!" It's the only time I've heard him swear. He rubbed it, grabbed his glove and got back in position. It's a difficult position. He plays short now.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
            Today I wanted to mention something that I'm sure few coaches/parents notice about their kids. It's one of the "little things" that make me proud of my boy.

            In practice the other night my boy was catching. BTW: he is playing on both travel ball and rec ball....the practice in question was in rec ball.

            He was catching for the coach who was throwing batting practice for the kids. A foul ball hit him square on the arm. It was a solid hit that had to hurt like all hell just broke loose in his arm. All I heard was him grunt like ....UHHHHH. He quickly got the ball and threw it back to the coach at about 60mph..lol

            It's such a small thing that I'm so proud of him. I remember when he would get hit and scream and yell and you all know what I'm talking about....the kids want everyone in the stands to know they just got hit and they'll roll around on the ground and cry and stuff. We'll, my boy took that hit and just shook it off. Yeah, it's a silly little thing but it's just one more sign that he is growing up. I'm probably the only one that noticed it but I'll never forget it.

            I also remember the first time (when he was 8) that I knew he was a little special. He was playing in a soccer game and this kid got the stole the ball from his teammate and started going down field. I can remember this like it was yesterday....the look on my boys face. It was shear determination. He ran after that other kid who was a good 20 yards from him like nothing was going to stop him from getting that ball back. Yeah, he got it back too. It was that face that I'll always remember.....the competitive side of him that I've never noticed in other kids around here. I'll never forget that moment.

            Also, we got a letter from his school the other day. Drum roll please....the letter said that my boy got an award over the entire school for most improved grades. His grades have never been good but last semester he worked his tail off to get all A's and B's. He got all A's and B's and one C. The C he had was in Math and at one point in the semester it was an F. He brought it all the way up to a C. He was just 6 points away from making the honor roll. I'm sure most of your kids make the honor roll every report card and that is great. Most of you know what my boy has gone through in his life so making good grades has always been hard for him.

            That letter is a very special letter to me. It's just one of those little things that we will always remember about our kids. Yeah, the homeruns are nice but I think it's the little things that make this thing called life so special.

            Sparks
            ahh yes, the very manly pursuit of playing through pain. which leads to the expectation that all men need to play through pain which leads many athletes to start using drugs to dull the pain. Cortisone is a favorite. Brett Favre played with pain, and became addicted to pain killers in the process. Others move to alcohol or other drugs to self medicate and numb the pain. Sometimes it is a lot healthier to acknowledge the pain and take a break. Pain is your body telling you that something that is going on should not be going on.
            "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

            -Bill James

            Comment


            • Sturg, you raise a good "generic" point about the dangers of dads and coaches pushing kids back in when they have serious or potentially serious injuries.

              However, I suspect you don't know Sparks as well as some of us, and probably haven't scrolled up a few messages regarding his concerns about his boy's early season soreness, where he said, "Believe me, if I think there is a 1% chance that it's serious I'll be the first one to take him to the doctor." So, I think we're safe in assuming that some combination of Sparks, the coach and the kid would know if it was something other than a really painful bruise.

              I tend to think -- and I say this without bias as an old catcher (but somewhat tongue in cheek) -- that there's a gene that pops up in some kids that makes them catchers. Or may it emerges when they get behind the plate. Ursa Minor doesn't have that great a pain threshhold, but when he straps on the "tools of ignorance" to catch during batting practice (which he loves to do), he suddenly will shake off blows that would fell him if he was at another position. It's not the worst trait to develop in real life -- sometimes you have to shake off illness, injury or lack of sleep and get the flippin' job done, and done while cheerfully leading a team under you.

              Congrats on his fine schoolwork. I tend to be restrained in my baseball praise of Ursa Minor. To jump up and down when he gets a key hit would be inconsistent with my assertions when things aren't going well that -- once you get the bat into the strike zone -- the rest is in the hands of the Gods, so don't get to upset if your cracklin' line drive ends up in the hands of the leaping shortstop. But, since schoolwork doesn't have its own rewards in terms of praise by teammates and the affection of fawning groupies (what -- you don't have them?), I try to be sure to give him his props when he does well in school, or even if he's just put his nose to the grindstone and worked diligently on a heavy homework workload.
              sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

              Comment


              • Go figure

                My boy is playing on two teams....rec team and travel team. For the past 6 or 7 weeks he has been working his tail off getting ready to play. We haven't played a single game yet. This coming week he has two rec games and a travel tournament. After all this time we're finally going to get to play!

                Let me say it again, my boy has been working harder than any kid I've ever seen. He goes to a pitching coach once a week, hits in the off a tee every day and pitching in the backyard and also hits off a little pitching machine about three times week. This is what he does on his own. He also has two practices for rec ball and usually one or two practices for travel ball a week.

                Yesterday I'm playing very very very soft toss with a football with my boy in the backyard. I'm grilling out so while I'm flipping the burgers we throw the football a little. Of course you know what happens...HE BREAKS HIS FREAKING FINGER!!! Weeks of working his tail off and a freak thing happens and he breaks his finger.

                We took him to the emergency room and they put a splint on it. It's the weekend so they told us to go to a bone doctor on Monday. So tomorrow we'll see how bad it really is. My guess is his season is over before it began this year. What a freaking shame...my goodness It's hard to believe this can happen.

                Sparks

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                • The hard thing with the gun is not its technical use. Its a psychological use. Be careful not to visit the dark side when attempting goals.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                    HE BREAKS HIS FREAKING FINGER!!!
                    Is the bone actually broken? I doubt it. X-rays in the ER was positive? If its a bad sprain it'll heal in week.

                    Comment


                    • reply

                      Originally posted by LAball View Post
                      Is the bone actually broken? I doubt it. X-rays in the ER was positive? If its a bad sprain it'll heal in week.
                      The doctor at the ER said it is fractured (fith finger). They put some kind of splint thing on it until the goes to the doctor on Monday.

                      It would be nice if it was only sprained but it doesn't look like that is the case. He's pretty down today about it all.

                      Sparks

                      Comment


                      • Update

                        Well, it was a long long looooooonggggg....three weeks for my boy. He got his cast off (fractured finger) on Monday. The doctor is letting him wear a removable splint now but he can take it off and play. I think he will have to wear this splint for another two weeks.

                        Anyway, two hours after he got his cast removed he had his first game. His first at bat he hit a deep ball to right field and hit a triple. His first game was very good and went 1 for 2 at the plate. He played SS and I was nervous because he hasn't taken ground balls in almost a month. He was lights out. We had one play where the hitter hit him a rocket and he bobbled the ball and it rolled a foot or so behind him. I was thinking to myself that he made a good play just to stay in front of it and stop the ball. Well, he ran to the ball and threw a rocket to first base and threw the boy out. I couldn't believe it and the people in the stands gasped at the throw he made. I heard some people in the stands yelling "NO WAY HE MADE THAT THROW!" The boy was just a few feet from first when he threw it and he got him out by a full step.

                        He played his second game last night. I personally think it was the best game of baseball he has ever played. The team he is on is not a very good team (that is being kind). We have 11 players and 5 of the players on our team have never even held a bat or put a glove on before this year. To be blunt...there are 7 teams in our league (Cal Ripkin) and two of the teams really stacked their teams with the best players. We have two kids that were ten when the season started and my boy is the only 12 year old on the team. There are two teams in our league that have "all 12 year olds!".
                        Anyway, last night we played what everyone considers the best team. My boy got the ball to pitch. Remember he just got his cast off yesterday.

                        Against the best team in the league he threw a 2 hitter and walked only one batter in 6 innings! He also struck out 8. He had one more ball hit that was a weak grounder and the kid made an error. I think it's one of the best pitching performances I've seen from any kid.

                        We lost the game 3 to 1. My boy had the single RBI that allowed us to score (they walked him his second and third at bat). This team has been beating other teams 15 to 0 and 10 to 0 (really beating up on teams). The last time our team played them (while my boy's finger was broke) they lost 11 to 0 and the game was called after 4 innings.

                        For my boy to hold this team to 1 earned run was an amazing pitching job and I have never been more proud of him. We were all on cloud nine after the game and even the other coaches came and talked to my boy and told him what a good job he did pitching.

                        It isn't so much losing. The other team won because they were a better team...that's fine. One thing, I'm really proud of my boy is this...last night he lost a close game but it didn't bother him like it used to. For the first time he took a loss like a man. I think deep down he knows that he played one of the best games he's ever played and he knows that he did all he could to win. I actually think he was proud of himself for playing so well. There is nothing like watching your kid be proud of himself... I don't know how to explain it but when you see your kid have that kind of confidence really really gets you.

                        We don't have anymore games this week. But the season has just begun for my boy and he is excited. He really loves this game of baseball.

                        Sparks

                        Comment


                        • As always thanks for the update.

                          When my son was in 7th grade he begged me to coach his MS team. I relented. One week before we started he went over the handle bars of his four-wheeler and did not play until the last week of the season.
                          "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                          - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                          Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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                          • damn sorry to hear this. Not a fair deal at all. My boy broke his arm 2 summers ago. Luckily it healed very fast and he missed 4 weeks
                            Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                            My boy is playing on two teams....rec team and travel team. For the past 6 or 7 weeks he has been working his tail off getting ready to play. We haven't played a single game yet. This coming week he has two rec games and a travel tournament. After all this time we're finally going to get to play!

                            Let me say it again, my boy has been working harder than any kid I've ever seen. He goes to a pitching coach once a week, hits in the off a tee every day and pitching in the backyard and also hits off a little pitching machine about three times week. This is what he does on his own. He also has two practices for rec ball and usually one or two practices for travel ball a week.

                            Yesterday I'm playing very very very soft toss with a football with my boy in the backyard. I'm grilling out so while I'm flipping the burgers we throw the football a little. Of course you know what happens...HE BREAKS HIS FREAKING FINGER!!! Weeks of working his tail off and a freak thing happens and he breaks his finger.

                            We took him to the emergency room and they put a splint on it. It's the weekend so they told us to go to a bone doctor on Monday. So tomorrow we'll see how bad it really is. My guess is his season is over before it began this year. What a freaking shame...my goodness It's hard to believe this can happen.

                            Sparks

                            Comment


                            • lol i guess i was a bit late. Glad to hear he got it off and is jumping right back in. What a shame they were allowed to load the teams up. My first thought was that they will just walk your son

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                              • Last night

                                Last night my boy pitched again. We played the best team in the league (they're undefeated). Bless his heart, the team my boy is on is just so bad. These are great kids but most of his team mates have never played baseball before.

                                Anyway, the team we played has 8 very good hitters from top to bottom. Every kid on the team is 12 years old (my boy is the only 12 year old on his team). He pitched pretty good. He struck out 10 batters, walked two and hit two batters.
                                I could tell the first two innings that he never got warm. He gave up 7 runs the first two innings but the last 4 innings he didn't allow a run and only one hit. So he pitched pretty good the first two innings and the last 4 innings he was almost unhittable.

                                It's tough to watch him out there on the mound pitching his heart out and giving everthing he has. It's clear to everyone that the other team is just far and away better than our team. But I'll say this....he never ever gives up. After the first two innings I suggested he not pitch the rest of the game so he wouldn't be burnt for Friday night's game. He didn't want any part of it...he said he can get those boys out and he wanted to finish the game. I'll say this, to give up 0 runs in the last four innings against this team (especially since the defense he has behind is so bad) was a very good job.

                                I'm not knocking his fellow team mates. They are all very very good kids, they come to every practice and show up on time for every game. They just have never played baseball before this year and it's tough to start out in the 11-12 year old league when they haven't played before. Who knows, one of these kids might grow into their body someday and be incredible players or doctors or something.

                                Also, the other teams will not pitch to my boy. I dont' know what you can do about that...I don't blame them I wouldn't either if I knew our team only had two hitters. He did have an RBI last night though. The past two weeks our team has scored a total of 2 runs he he has both RBI. Most of the time they just walk him though. My boy saw one of the kids on the other team at school and he said his coach told him not to throw my boy any strikes. I guess you can't blame the coach....that's just good coaching I reckon.

                                All in all it was a very good night. Everyone had a postive attitude and the kids had fun.

                                Sparks

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