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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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  • Sparks, glad to hear he's having 'fun', as compared to your reading of his attitude the prior week. We've had the talk before about not reading too much into one game or series of games, and how you've got to be the stable foundation that keeps the highs and lows balanced.

    Sophomore year is tough for talented kids, because you have the "Var vs. JV" issues. Many times kids or their Dads beg to come up, and they discover either that the sit or they get humbled. Nothing wrong with just staying with the younger guys and having fun and learning. It's the junior year when they need to shine in order to get some attention from the college coaches. Also, your failings kinda disappear.

    By contrast, our HS varsity has played two games and juniors with college aspirations (and talent) have started each game. Both started out well but stumbled - a hit and an walk or HBP or two then a seeing-eye grounder, and all of a sudden they've been yanked and the reliever couldn't stem the bleeding and ... BOOM, they're both looking at ERA's over 20.00 available for all to see on MaxPreps. Even worse, the coach has lost confidence and they won't have too many opportunities to lower those ERA's.

    I agree with the others that notwithstanding the lack of advance notice your boy should look at the sudden chance to pitch as an opportunity, not as a conspiracy. It happens all the time when a pitcher gets hurt... or the star of a Broadway show twists an ankle and the understudy becomes a star. As far as the suggestions by others that your boy 'suck it up' and put his past troubles behind him, well, I've been blessed with a solid family and enough talent to get along, so I can't say I've walked in his shoes or yours. But I hope you freakin' appreciate - maybe via a PM - that TG643 has apparently lived that kinda life and moved on and is willing to open up to help give you some important guidance. Listen to him.

    Your boy has had six years of a relatively stable situation -- I hope you've been able to shield him from much of the legal drama surrounding his unstable mother. Six years is a pretty good run and it hopefully has eradicated most of what may have haunted him. He's got to choose what goals he wants to shoot for and not accept excuses for getting significantly sidetracked. (Minor derailments are to be expected with teenagers.) So, when coaches do jerky things - and it's a given that they either will do so or will seem to do so (which is the same thing from your point of view), the important thing is to decide that you are not going to give a jerk the satisfaction of getting under your skin and throwing you off your game.

    I've been subject to criticism in my life (even here!) and will internalize it to a greater or lesser degree depending upon my respect for the criticizer. But there are about a half-dozen people in my life who - if they tell me I'm screwing up - will get my immediate attention because I trust their judgment and know they have no agenda other than my welfare. And there are a great many more folks whose opinions mean little to me and I don't try to disabuse them of critical opinions of me, but rather just shrug and smile wanly and go about my business. Sometimes the best response is, "Whatever, dude"... and then walk away.

    Your boy needs to do the same thing - decide those whom he's going to let get him upset. If the coaches whipsaw him back and forth as to his role on the two teams, the best 'revenge' is not to get upset but to go out and do the best he can and come back into the dugout with a look that says, "Okay, that was a fun challenge; what do you have next for me?" And the best 'revenge' for a bad early life situation is to do what TG and countless others have done - move on and not let those circumstances either pull you down or make you so bitter that your future relationships become impaired.
    sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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    • Update:

      My boy had about the best pitching game he's ever had tonight.
      Pitched a 2 hit shutout, striking out 13!!!!!!!!

      He was just flat out dominating tonight..... it was amazing to watch.

      Sparks

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      • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
        Update:

        My boy had about the best pitching game he's ever had tonight.
        Pitched a 2 hit shutout, striking out 13!!!!!!!!

        He was just flat out dominating tonight..... it was amazing to watch.

        Sparks
        Sparks... Post some clips!!
        "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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        • Feeling small

          Tonight was a night when I felt about two inches tall.

          My boy got hurt sliding into second base.....heard a pop and he couldn't put weight on his ankle. We take him to the hospital. When we get there the doctor looks at it and says he thinks its dislocated and fractured but will have to do ex-rays to confirm.

          We're sitting in the room and I'm pissed. I tell my boy something like this...... "you know you wouldn't be hurt like this if you were playing up on Varsity instead of pissing around on this JV team".

          He looked at me as honest as a prayer and said these simple words.... "but I love playing on the JV team".

          I asked him why and he said "because it's a lot of fun.... I get to pitch, catch, play SS and bat third. If they move me to Varsity they won't let me bat and I'll only pitch".

          Talk about feeling small. I felt small.

          Doctor walks in smiling.....good news...only a sprain but go see your doctor to follow up. Will be on crutches for a few days.

          I don't know why a coach has a kid throwing 83 to 85mph on the JV team and frankly I don't care. I'm just so glad that my boy loves the game again......

          Sparks

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          • Why wouldn't he get hurt if he was playing varsity? Players get injured playing MLB. If your grandson got hurt sliding it's about his sliding not where he's playing.

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            • Originally posted by tg643 View Post
              Why wouldn't he get hurt if he was playing varsity? Players get injured playing MLB. If your grandson got hurt sliding it's about his sliding not where he's playing.
              That was just me being stupid and mad. Frankly I was a little scared at the time....we thought is ankle was really bad and I guess I just wanted to blame someone. Just stupid of me.


              Sparks

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              • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                That was just me being stupid and mad. Frankly I was a little scared at the time....we thought is ankle was really bad and I guess I just wanted to blame someone. Just stupid of me.


                Sparks
                Sparks --- I wish I could say I've never had one of those stupid momments.... We've all had them. IMHO - Mini-Sparks seems to have it packed pretty tight for his age.
                "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.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by songtitle
                  Trad, this is a great 'journey' thread. It shows the ups and downs of having a kid in baseball. Sparks has been kind enough to open his heart here. Almost everyone here will be, or has been, through this roller coaster ride.
                  Yeah, totally agree with song here. Sparks has put to pen what many of us have felt over the years, the good and the bad, but didn't have the guts to actually put to pen. I think it's been a tremendous thread of significant value to many readers. Don't all of us secretly feel our son/daughter is the best baseball/softball player ever? His vivid writing (Sparks is a very talented writer, natural writer) depicting these ups and downs has really been enjoyable to read. Hopefully he will keep it up!
                  The outcome of our children is infinitely more important than the outcome of any game they will ever play

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                  • There are 2 different ways to look at JV versus Varsity. The first is that you want him on Varsity, because he's ready to play on Varsity. He probably is. However, confidence is a key to success. Sure he could play Varsity, but as the kid said, it's not as much fun as playing JV. That's the ticket, Sparksdale. According to your accounts, he has the goods. Since he plays SS, there's no reason to think otherwise. It's your job to keep it fun, keep him loose and help him maintain a love of baseball. He'll be on Varsity soon enough. I hope his ankle heals quickly and he can get back out there helping his team and having fun.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by JJA View Post
                      I think it's been a tremendous thread of significant value to many readers.
                      Quite frankly, I think that it holds the most "significant value" of just about any thread that's been posted here.

                      I think the world of Sparks, for his willingness to share not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly of what we all experience along the journey of youth through high school (and sometimes beyond) baseball.

                      Good on ya Sparks, keep up the good work.....and best of luck to your grandson, in this, and the many years to come.
                      In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                        That was just me being stupid and mad. Frankly I was a little scared at the time....we thought is ankle was really bad and I guess I just wanted to blame someone. Just stupid of me.


                        Sparks
                        Injuries become a matter of perspective. In soccer, my son once dove head at a forward to stop a breakaway attempt. He took the ball right off the shooter's foot. The shooter follow through kicked him in the head. He tripped over my son with his knee landing on the back of my son's neck. My son was limp and lifeless for what seemed like an enternity. When he regained consciousness he had no feeling in his body. The feeling started to return as he was being carted off the field.

                        Anything after that is just a bruise. A couple of years ago he suffered a torn PCL and MCL. He missed the entire baseball showcase season following his junior year. He missed his senior year of soccer. Rehabbing his knee he fell and on his shoulder requiring shoulder surgery. He threw off the sling three weeks before the season started. He opened the season as DH. He was high school ready, but not college ready. He spent the sprng and summer working out like crazy to get back in shape and regain his strnegth. Due to his injuries he had to walk on for college baseball. While he has a roster spot next year at a major conference D1 he has to sit out this year due to no openings on the roster.

                        The walls weren't put up to keep you out. The walls were put up to see how badly you want in.

                        The journey takes, patience, persistence and composure.

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                        • tradosaurus,

                          I spent a little time today scanning this thread and reading old messages. (I think you posted that you just started reading).

                          I must say the earlier post were pretty bad and I did do a lot of bragging.... But it was wonderful to read the post and relive some of those memories.

                          I've had this thread for over 6 years and it has grown and taken a life of it's own. I made a decision years ago to post honestly everything and that included the bad as well as the good. Believe me there are plenty of bad times but the good times seem to make up for it.

                          I don't know if you read the post I posted early in the life of this thread but I'll say it again....
                          I started this thread to ask a simple question and then as baseball season started I missed my dad. He died a year before my boy started playing baseball. My dad and I loved baseball and would spend hours talking about the game. He was a very good LL player and I used sit in awe listening intently to every word. When I did play he never missed a game and even though I wasn't very good he always smiled and loved to watch me play.
                          As my boy's first season got into swing I missed my dad and the conversations he and I always shared.... so I decided I would put my thoughts on this board.

                          Every single post you read on here is me talking to my dad and sharing this great game that he and I loved.

                          I've made a lot of mistakes and there are many post that I could easily go back and delete but I won't do it. This thread is what it is...warts and all.

                          So if my post offend you and I'm sure many of them do then I apologize and wish you the best.

                          I invite you to read the post I posted the day my boy pitched his first Varsity game.... I think it pretty much sums up this entire thread and this journey. I don't know how to post a link to a certain message but the number of the message is #768.

                          Sparks

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                          • I deleted an inappropriate post. This thread has been a great benefit for many for several years. If you cannot post in the spirit this thread is intended then I suggest you move on...

                            I did leave several responses as I feel they capture how most of us feel.
                            "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.

                            Comment


                            • Bad news

                              Doctor says my boy's ankle is broken....out 4 to 6 weeks. His Sophomore year is over.

                              Sparks

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                              • That sucks Sparks.

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