Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Sparks Journey from Little League to College

Collapse
This is a sticky topic.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
    Just to speak my mind a little.......

    I don't, nor have I ever wanted to be one of those parents who run around telling everyone their kid should be playing because he is better. That's not my intention. The problem is.....not only this year but every year my boy has played the numbers will far and away back up anything I might say.

    This is the problem.....if the coach has a problem with a kid he's just out of luck. Since my boy was in the 7th grade I've looked forward to his Sophomore year....I just think it's one of those magical years for good players. The coach, for what ever reason has chosen to ruin my boys sophomore year. Yeah, he's had a great year on JV but having a good year on JV is like Chipper Jones going down to AA ball and hitting homeruns.....no one cares.

    It's just so very very very frustrating. I even checked around to sending him to another school but there is no way around the one year rule so he's just flat out stuck.

    Just this year alone my boy leads the team in batting average, extra base hits, stolen bases, runs scored and his on base % is miles ahead of anyone else. (this is with missing a month of playing that's how good of a year he was having) His pitching is so far ahead of every other JV player that it's not even funny. The only bad game he had was last Thursday when he was coming off a broken ankle and gave up four runs. The rest of the entire year he has only given up....now get this....... 1 earned run and 4 runs total. That's all year!!!!! Just today he pitched 5 innings and struck out 9 batters and only allowed one hit. This was after pitching two nights ago and catching the entire second game.

    Not to mention he plays every position on the infield except 1st base.

    I don't tell you these numbers because of bragging....please understand. I tell you this because the Varsity team has one eight grader on it with 4 JV players and they have a record of 10 wins and 22 losses right now. (there are five games left in the season) Most every game they play is a blow out. Could my boy make them an undefeated team? Of course not but in my humble opinion he could have easily helped them win 3 games or more. Easily.....

    You tell me with the numbers my boy is putting up that he shouldn't be on a 10 and 22 team that only has one player is hitting above .240?

    I'll say it again.... my boy is on a JV team and he throws 83mph+ (I think he throws about 85 but don't have it recorded). Why on earth is he on the JV team when he could have helped the Varsity team? WHY WHY WHY?

    The problem is with this one year rule a kid has no options......yeah if he wants to sit out his JR. year he can go to another school but what kid wants to do that?

    I must apologize here...... I just wanted to vent a little. I know all of you will get on my back and tell me to chill out or relax that the Sophomore year isn't important. All I can say is it was important to us.

    I think the one thing that upsets me the most is it's just flat out taken the spirit out of my boy. This is a kid that has lived and dreamed and loved baseball all his life. He's in a situation that he can't win and it breaks my heart. I'm scared.... I tell you I'm very scared. I'm scared he will lose his love of the game.


    Sparks

    Sorry, just don't get it. If he truly has a love and passion for the game, not playing varsity his sophomore year should not steer him away from the game. I would venture to guess this is all about you and not your grandson. Sorry just being honest. BTW stats are fine but they don't tell the whole story, especially in a short HS season. You need to get a grip and make sure he truly wants it as bad as YOU seem too.

    Comment


    • Sparks:

      Let me tell you a story I heard from a very wise man a month ago, in his own words. It goes like this:

      "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.

      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....."


      Does this sound like anyone you know?

      A kid who's got that attitude and numbers is not about to quit the game. If he gets down, it's your job to remind him of what he said, not to get him discouraged because lesser players are on the roster of a lousy team. (And, perhaps not so oddly, it's often the crappy teams that have the least logical roster decisions - in fact, that's sorta how they got that way.)

      Ride it out to the end of the season and see if he gets called up. If not, after it's over he should consider going into the varsity coach's office at the end of the season armed with the stats you cite in his pocket. (I say he should "consider" this approach, because I'm not familiar with the coach.) He can say in a friendly but determined tone, "Coach, as you know, I was the best hitter, fielder and pitcher on the JV team this year and am determined to be the same on the varsity next year. What do you think I should be doing during the summer to help me get there?" (If the coach tries to poo-poo his JV successes, he can then (and only then) pull the stats out of his pocket. And he should NOT complain about not being called up to varsity; that's old news and you want the coach to know that your boy is only looking to the future.) Have him listen to what the coach says. If the coach says he's not sure that your boy will be good enough for the varsity (and I'll bet you the $10,000 that Mitt Romney didn't pay Rick Perry that he won't), he shouldn't argue, but simply ask, "What would you like to see from me that will prove that I am?" I think your boy is entitled to a reading from the coach, and it may give you a sense of why he was buried on the JV squad.

      Otherwise, relax. What's done is done. It's the summer ball & showcases and junior year that counts if he's going to play after high school.
      Last edited by Ursa Major; 04-08-2012, 01:58 AM.
      sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

      Comment


      • Duplicate post deleted.
        sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
          Sorry, just don't get it. If he truly has a love and passion for the game, not playing varsity his sophomore year should not steer him away from the game. I would venture to guess this is all about you and not your grandson. Sorry just being honest. BTW stats are fine but they don't tell the whole story, especially in a short HS season. You need to get a grip and make sure he truly wants it as bad as YOU seem too.
          You think?

          Comment


          • Ursa,

            Showcases are for rich folks..... no way we have the funds to make the rounds in showcases.
            I simply don't see how people afford them.....the cheap one's are $400 and if you want to go to a good one your looking at $600+ not to mention travel and lodging. Crap, to go to a good showcase you may have to spend upwards of $3000.....

            the light bill comes first.

            Sparks

            Comment


            • Sparks, I agree, which is why I made the point that sometimes a truly bad high school experience can cut short what was a potential college career, as there may be few other options to get the attention of college coaches out of your area. This doesn't change the equation for you, though, as you've still got next year for your boy to make an impression, not to mention other tournaments that he may play in. By the way, most showcases do offer financial help.

              With all the details we've picked up about your boy's career over the years, I'm not sure you've given a good sense of what his college aspirations might be. Does he have to stay in the area so that he can live at home, or would he be able to go someplace out of the area? You've mentioned that his devotion to his studies waxes and wanes (and what teenager's attention span doesn't?), but it's not clear if he's thinking of community college, or D2, or D1 or what. One thing you can start doing is having him contact college coaches in your general area by email saying that you're interested in their program (the coaches can't write or call back, though) with an attached 'resume' and video clip, and then stop by their field when they're going to be practicing to say hello. (Informal on-campus visits are largely okay, but check out the rules at NCAA.org.) Since practice is the one time when you know where a coach will be, I'd do that this spring, otherwise it'll be hit-or-miss until next spring, since the coach likely can't tell you what their workout schedule is. If one of his HS or off-season coaches (or even another coach from an opponent who's seen him play [and don't discount their value, as sometimes they're the most credible appraisers of a kid's talent since they don't have a bias])knows the coach and can email and say "Young Sparks is a terrific pitcher and is worth you talking to him", that would help get the coach to give a few minutes of his time at practice to come over to the fence to say hello.

              If you do visit a coach in person, I think it would be a must to have a very short video clip of your boy playing (and throwing) included (i.e., a link to a YouTube video typed in) with the resume you email ahead of time. I say this because he's short, and isn't going to 'wow' any coach at first sight. Obviously, it would be nice to have him making some nice hits with power and throwing someone out at second base from behind the plate (whether done in a game or in practice isn't critical), but as a pitcher the most important thing is to have a clip of him throwing a few fastballs with a radar gun in the foreground. If you can show an 85 or above on the gun, the coaches will be interested. I've joked with parents that, which a position player may need a five-minute highlight video that shows all his strengths (and I've seen them as long as eight minutes), all a pitcher needs is a four-second clip of him throwing a fastball and accompanying radar gun reading with a "9" as the first number.

              There a couple of nice benefits of starting this process now. First, it gets a kid thinking of college and the need to keep his grades up to get there. Second, all these tribulations in HS ball tend to be put in perspective when you start chatting with college coaches and realize that they really don't care much what a high school coach thinks of a player (other than character issues); the college coach will make his own judgments. Third, the player in a sense is searching for a job and has to master the skills of contacting and impressing a prospective employer - a very valuable set of skills, needless to say. Fourth, college coaches are in the business of talking to high school kids and can give you a valuable and candid assessment of what your boy needs to do to get to the next level - bulk up, change his motion, develop more movement, whatever.

              But - I repeat - make sure you know the NCAA rules so you don't trip over them and either put the college coach in a bad position or get bent out of shape because you're not hearing back from a coach when it's simply a matter of the coach being barred from contacting the kid in a certain way until a certain time in his high school career.
              Last edited by Ursa Major; 04-08-2012, 01:44 PM.
              sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by tradosaurus View Post
                Originally Posted by Standballdad
                Sorry, just don't get it. If he truly has a love and passion for the game, not playing varsity his sophomore year should not steer him away from the game. I would venture to guess this is all about you and not your grandson. Sorry just being honest. BTW stats are fine but they don't tell the whole story, especially in a short HS season. You need to get a grip and make sure he truly wants it as bad as YOU seem too.
                You think?
                While I think it's fair to alert Sparks to the risk that he is getting more swept up in the process than his grandson, a couple of factors should be taken into account before the rest of us get all negative and smarmy. First, Sparks has a tendency for hyperbole. Second, he didn't say that the kid would quit, but rather that the current tribulations would dampen his love for the game. Third, it's not fair to minimize the legitimacy of a kid's emotional issues and attachment to the game, particularly one who's gone through some of the trials that this youngster has suffered. It's easy to tell someone to suck it up when someone else's kid is going through pain - not so easy when it's your own. Yes, we can and should advise Sparks to "be the grown-up in the room" and place the ups-and-downs of baseball life in perspective for the youngster; however, given what he's done and sacrificed for his grandson, to suggest that he's in it for his own self-aggrandizement rather than for what's best for the boy is a bit shallow, if not mean-spirited.
                sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

                Comment


                • Ursa, I think you pretty much said it all when you reposted this...
                  Originally posted by Ursa Major View Post
                  "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.

                  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....."
                  We all have our stories of disappointment for our children, when others don't view them through the same glasses that we do, but that is life in general, and not just baseball.

                  As others have posted, I feel it best that Sparks take a deep breath, understand that stats at one level are no guarantee or indicator of success at another, enjoy watching his son play the game at whatever level he's at, and let his son enjoy playing the game, rather than let his embitterment with the varsity coach and the situation, seep through to his son intentionally or not.....and potentially put ideas in the young man's mind that at this point don't seem to be there, or should be.



                  Sparks, if I could offer you a little story of disappointment and realization that I went through with my oldest son, it may put some of what you're experiencing into perspective.....

                  At the beginning of my son's junior season, after having any outstanding JV season as a sophomore (and having been called up to varsity for the playoffs at the end of his freshman season), we were both positive that he's make varsity and be battling for a starting spot.

                  Well, the day came when team assignments were made, so when he entered the door, I just knew we would be celebrating his appointment to the varsity team. So I met him in the entryway already to hear the news, only to find out that they had promoted a sophomore above him, to fill the third spot at his position.

                  I was shocked and stunned, as the previous season I had rationalized with him, that the only reason he didn't make varsity as a sophomore, is that they promoted a junior above him, even though they bypassed that junior and promoted my son for the playoffs that previous year. So now, there we stood silent in disbelief, until I started to see him well-up with tears in his eyes.

                  I told him that everything would be OK and to let his play on the JV team show the coach that he had made the wrong decision. It was his next words that brought tears to my eyes, and a lump in my throat. He said, "Dad, I'm sorry for letting you down by not making the team" as he began to cry like I'd never seen him before. I hugged him, and through my own blubbering tears, I told him I loved him, and that I was proud of him, no matter what team he ever played on.

                  It was at that moment, that I realized my own desire to see my son succeed in the game of baseball had sent all of the wrong messages to him, and that I had inadvertently put way too much pressure on him, and placed the importance of things in all the wrong places.

                  There's more to the story that continued on into his senior season, but that's for another time. All I can say is that as you posted earlier, if your son "love(s) playing on the JV team", that's all that should matter to you at the moment, and let him take his outstanding season to the varsity tryouts next year, and let the chips fall where they may.

                  We were in almost the exact situation years ago......and all I can say is to be prepared should things not go as you may hope or expect next year. I hope you don't have to experience what we did, but there is always that possibility.

                  My wife didn't/doesn't go to our sons' games, as she hates to see them fail ever, and says that, "baseball is a cruel sport"......I always argued that that was not true or the case, but after that moment in the entryway with my eldest, I must say that in that exact instant, she was 100% correct.


                  Best of luck,
                  mud -
                  In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

                  Comment


                  • This year is the toughest year, mentally.

                    I had a kid that started as a Fr and So, and was cut by a new coach as a Jr. We were beyond stunned. I saw the coach a few years later and he said "I made a big mistake". It all worked out fine in the long run.

                    A year ago, my youngest started at JV, and in the last 12 months has won 11 games so far on varsity.

                    You never know. Try not to get too high, or too low. Let it play out.
                    Last edited by songtitle; 04-08-2012, 07:39 PM.
                    efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Ursa Major View Post
                      While I think it's fair to alert Sparks to the risk that he is getting more swept up in the process than his grandson, a couple of factors should be taken into account before the rest of us get all negative and smarmy. First, Sparks has a tendency for hyperbole. Second, he didn't say that the kid would quit, but rather that the current tribulations would dampen his love for the game. Third, it's not fair to minimize the legitimacy of a kid's emotional issues and attachment to the game, particularly one who's gone through some of the trials that this youngster has suffered. It's easy to tell someone to suck it up when someone else's kid is going through pain - not so easy when it's your own. Yes, we can and should advise Sparks to "be the grown-up in the room" and place the ups-and-downs of baseball life in perspective for the youngster; however, given what he's done and sacrificed for his grandson, to suggest that he's in it for his own self-aggrandizement rather than for what's best for the boy is a bit shallow, if not mean-spirited.
                      Not trying to be mean spirited and definitely not shallow. My oldest son went thru the same thing in soccer. Only giving my honest opinion, we are adults no need to sugar coat things, it does not help the situation to do so. Imho

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
                        Not trying to be mean spirited and definitely not shallow. My oldest son went thru the same thing in soccer. Only giving my honest opinion, we are adults no need to sugar coat things, it does not help the situation to do so. Imho
                        Ditto on the experiences and Amen!

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
                          My wife didn't/doesn't go to our sons' games, as she hates to see them fail ever...
                          Within every failure there is a lesson for success...
                          Also, as I am certain you know... her inability to handle life's small failures now will make it very difficult for her when the big stuff comes along.... and if you have young children, the big stuff does come along...
                          "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 Jake Patterson View Post
                            Within every failure there is a lesson for success...
                            Also, as I am certain you know... her inability to handle life's small failures now will make it very difficult for her when the big stuff comes along.... and if you have young children, the big stuff does come along...
                            Thanks Jake, but she's handled their growing up quit well, my youngest is 17 and a junior in HS, while my oldest is finishing up his didactic studies in Fire Science, and will be entering the Fire Academy in July.

                            She just didn't share the coach's opinion of her son(s) skills and/or behavior out on the baseball field, and for not playing them every inning of every game, especially when the coach benched them for not giving 100% or playing to their potential, or when they showed poor attitudes or sportsmanship at anytime.....just as he did with any other player on the team.

                            Since I was that coach, neither of us minded that I did the "baseball stuff" with the boys, while she shared with, and nurtured them on many other aspects of their lives.

                            Seemed to be a very good balance for the boys, as she also had to often wear two hats as "mom" and "dad", when I was away for days or even weeks at a time with the fire department, something that I admired her for......and know that many/most women couldn't handle such a situation; but I'll be sure to let you know if and when we ever need any additional parenting or personal development information.

                            There is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a son that transcends all other affections of the heart. – Washington Irving
                            In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
                              Ursa, I think you pretty much said it all when you reposted this...

                              We all have our stories of disappointment for our children, when others don't view them through the same glasses that we do, but that is life in general, and not just baseball.

                              * * * * * * * * *
                              Sparks, if I could offer you a little story of disappointment and realization that I went through with my oldest son, it may put some of what you're experiencing into perspective.....
                              ......
                              ......I told him that everything would be OK and to let his play on the JV team show the coach that he had made the wrong decision. It was his next words that brought tears to my eyes, and a lump in my throat. He said, "Dad, I'm sorry for letting you down by not making the team" as he began to cry like I'd never seen him before. I hugged him, and through my own blubbering tears, I told him I loved him, and that I was proud of him, no matter what team he ever played on.

                              It was at that moment, that I realized my own desire to see my son succeed in the game of baseball had sent all of the wrong messages to him, and that I had inadvertently put way too much pressure on him, and placed the importance of things in all the wrong places. .....
                              Mud, that was very beautifully and powerfully written. Thanks for sharing and making a point more effectively than I or most of the rest of us could have done.
                              sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
                                Not trying to be mean spirited and definitely not shallow. My oldest son went thru the same thing in soccer. Only giving my honest opinion, we are adults no need to sugar coat things, it does not help the situation to do so. Imho
                                I am not disputing that Sparks' attitude as expressed in the post is (to the extent it seeps into the advice he gives his grandson) not a positive in helping to deal with the situation. Rather, I was critical of those who blithely suggest that Sparks' attitude is fueled by a desire to live vicariously through the youngster. While that may be a fair charge in a great many similar cases, Sparks' situation presents complexities that defy easy platitudes. Sure, you and Trade are entitled to your opinions; it's just that they bear more weight if you've read every post by Sparks over the past six years and PM'd with him privately to understand the back story.

                                I know you're not trying to be mean-spirited, but you should understand that when you say something like, "This is all about you and not your grandson" (and I'm quoting you) you are necessarily saying that, intentionally or not, Sparks does not genuinely have his grandson's interests at heart. If you step back and think about it, it's a pretty thoughtless thing to say. At the very least, the person you're addressing is likely to shut you out after you make such an attack. If, by contrast, you want to say that Sparks is misguided in the manner that MudV has done, you're more likely to persuade him and others who have similar stories.
                                sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

                                Comment

                                Ad Widget

                                Collapse
                                Working...
                                X