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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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  • Only thing I can think of is this.....

    Early in the year it was to be the Varsity's third or fourth game. That Monday the coach told my boy to be ready because he "might" call him to pitch for the Varsity the next Saturday.
    We have I think 4 games with the JV that week. All week word is sent to the JV for my boy not to pitch more than two innings to keep him ready to pitch for the Varsity on Saturday.
    Well, Thursday comes and we haven't heard anything. Friday we play a double header with the JV. Even when the JV game is over my boy still hadn't heard anything about pitching the next day. We even asked the JV coach before we left for home and he said he hadn't heard anything.

    Saturday we have two more games with the JV (same time as Varsity but Varsity is in another town). When we get there the JV coach ask my boy why he's there because he's scheduled to pitch for the Varsity. My boy said he hadn't heard a word (nor had we). The JV coach told him the Varsity coach had sent my boy a text between 11 pm and midnight the night before. My boy said he never got a text nor did anyone ever call him. Funny thing is the JV coach was instructed by the Varsity coach to check my boy's phone for message......there wasn't one.

    None of it made sense. When I got home that night I even checked my boys online cell phone account and sure enough he hadn't gotten a call or a message of any kind from his coach.

    I don't know....it's all crazy but I think the Varsity coach was pissed over that whole deal. My reply was why would you wait until midnight the night before an 11 am game to tell a kid to play for the Varsity? I mean my boy didn't have a Varsity hat, uniform or anything. What were we he supposed to do?

    That's the only thing I can think of for this whole deal.

    Also, this was supposed to be the year for our Varsity. We had 8 senior's with some good Sophomore players and a couple of pretty good JR players. Last year the Varsity made the playoff's for the first time in our schools history. We only lost two players off last years team so the entire school was geared up for this year. This was the year we had all the talent (probably the best 15 or so players we'll have for a few years). We're losing 8 Sr's this year.

    Instead the Varsity only won 11 games this year and lost all but one game against 6A schools. It's been a disaster from day one. Mind you, now I'm not just saying this.... my boy is considered one of the best pitchers in the school Varsity or JV. He could have helped the team. Could they have made the playoff's with my boy? You know.... I don't know but I think he could have won at least 3 or 4 games just from his pitching. None of the Varsity players (except one) has hit all year so he easily could have helped getting a few hits.

    Anyway, the season is over. Rumor is our coach is getting fired after this year. It's a strong rumor that I give at least a 70% chance of being true. The rumor is that the assistant coach (who is a former college coach) will take over the team at the end of the year. I know he likes my boy a lot, at least he's told him on several occasions.

    I know I get long winded but just wanted to vent a little.

    Sparks

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    • This is our last game and my boy's first at bat when he led off and hit a standing triple. (hope I did this right and the video works)

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      • Again, our last game and don't have much of him pitching.... my camcorder was giving me fits. This isn't great quality but he gave up one hit in three innings in this game.

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        • This is his last at bat and last chance to hit for the cycle..... he was so so so close.....

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          • We were playing on a college field in this game. It's 400 to center and 370 in the gaps.
            You can hear me in the video, I thought it was gone. I think it hit the fence just under the 370 sign.
            Probably his best hit ever.

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            • I finally spoke with the Varsity coach (via email) regarding my boy and why he didn't play on Varsity this year.

              The third Varsity game of the year my boy was scheduled to pitch for the Varsity and the coach told me my boy new it and that he had left him a voice mail as well as two text reminding him of it.

              The coach told me that he had a meeting with my boy at the start of the season and told him he would be playing defense and hitting with the JV team but would come up and be in the starting rotation for the Varsity. This was not only to help the Varsity but to help my boy get more at bats and to play defense everyday.

              The coach was mad at my boy for not showing up for that game and a week later my boy broke his ankle.

              Ok, I get this and this is all my fault.

              The day before he was scheduled to pitch for the Varsity my boy was hit while catching and had to go to the emergency room and get stitches in his face. The varsity team he was going to pitch against the next day was ranked 4th in the state and is a 6A powerhouse. My boy was scared to pitch against that team with those stitches in his face. He was also scared to tell the coach that he was scared.

              It's clear my boy lied about not getting a text from his coach because he didn't want anyone to know he was scared to play but my goodness....... you can't blame him when he has stitches in his face.

              I'm the worst parent ever... I listened to everyone around me and instead of doing what I knew I should do I did nothing. I had a feeling that my boy got the messages from the coach about pitching that game but I ignored my gut. Instead I just decided to let it all play out. If I had spoken to the coach when all this started I would have gotten all this cleared up.

              Holy cow...... what kind of a parent allows this to happen? I'm more mad at myself than my boy or my coach. It is my job to do the right thing and I didn't do what I knew I should have done.

              Sparks

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              • My boy was scared to pitch against that team with those stitches in his face. He was also scared to tell the coach that he was scared.

                It's clear my boy lied about not getting a text from his coach because he didn't want anyone to know he was scared to play but my goodness....... you can't blame him when he has stitches in his face.


                Sparks,
                Scared to pitch because he had stitches in his face.
                This is beyond my comprehension.
                Skip

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                • DO NOT approach the coach again. He's a young man. It's time to stop holding his hand. You don't go to the coach. If a story sounds fishy you confront your grandson. I would tell my son ... If you're lying, you're not lying to me. You're lying to yourself.

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                  • Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                    DO NOT approach the coach again. He's a young man. It's time to stop holding his hand. You don't go to the coach. If a story sounds fishy you confront your grandson. I would tell my son ... If you're lying, you're not lying to me. You're lying to yourself.
                    AGREED! I've spent a lot of time this year especially in conversation with my son on how to approach conversations with coaches, teachers. and other adults. I'm willing to give him advice and pleased he comes to me to talk about stuff and brainstorm the right way to act. In the end though, he's reached the age where at least preliminary contact has to be made by him.

                    Doesn't necessarily pertain to this situation, but in a way it does. One thing that I've talked about with my son is continually developing a more arm's length relationship with his teachers and coaches. In other words, it's ok to initiate conversation with adults. There's times when this should be the case, but quite often kids shy away or are not quite ready I suppose.

                    An example is when his grandpa brought him to a field maintenance day and he too stayed to help out. I told my son that his grandpa had done a lot in life and within the community that you should be very proud to introduce him to the coaches. I hope he would've thought to do this anyway, but because I consider him a young adult and new opportunities and challenges present themselves every day - I want to help him do the right thing and get used to doing the right thing.

                    I also told him look, if you know your science teacher or your baseball coach has a strong interest in something you do too, bring it up. If you know they're a Duke basketball fan and are following the NCAA tournament, and you've got Duke going to the Final 4 in your bracket - When Duke gets knocked out in the first round you and your teacher have something in common. That upset blew up both of your brackets. My point is that it's better to have the first conversation with your science teacher be about this than disagreeing about a grade or whether an absence should be excused or not. Lay the ground work on a positive note. Hopefully you have countless chit chat about all positive and stimulating matters and never have to have a difficult discussion. If you do though, it should be much easier. You may even get the benefit of the doubt if there's some background to go on for them.
                    There are two kinds of losers.....Those that don't do what they are told, and those that do only what they are told.

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                    • This was his mistake not yours. He is paying for HIS decission not to respond to the coaches requests. At this point, it is up to you to mentor him on how to proceed and let him make the next step.

                      From personal experience, don't let him put this off for another year thinking the VS coach is getting fired. He needs to address this now or there may not be a next year.

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                      • I would tell your grandson that if he really wants to play varsity that he needs to go talk to the coach and apologize for not being there when he was needed.

                        He should also apologize to you for not telling you the entire story so that you ended up with egg on your face in front of the coach.

                        It will only make him a better player overall.

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                        • Wow - a lot to chew on based on the new information.

                          First, while we all agree that it was best that Sparks not ask the varsity coach about playing time during the season, it's a different story when the season is over. Just as it's appropriate to ask a trigonometry teacher whether your kid should be taking Calc A/B or Calc B/C the following year, there's reason to ask the coach in a non-confrontational way where he sees the kid's future and what he should be doing in the off season.

                          This is particularly the case here, where the kid's JV successes and the fact that other sophs with less success were brought up and he wasn't - obviously something behavior-related was going on and any parent or guardian should find out what, if anything, it might be. In fact, it should be up to any coach or teacher to contact a parent if there's a behavior issue. And, of course, the coach should have known the kid was in the hospital and should have offered to defer the first start. ((BTW, Skipper, I think it's unfair to say that it's incomprehensible that a kid would be scared "because he had stitches in his face"; sure, that's how Sparks phrased it, but the obvious implication is that it was the CAUSE of the stitches (getting knocked around on a field) that made him a little gunshy.)) But to just ban the kid from the varsity because the kid didn't respond to a text is not bright - for a kid that talented and game-savvy, that kind of behavior should have told the coach that the injury was more serious than he thought. It sounds like the coach just was having a hissy fit because he was being 'dissed', rather than worrying about his player.

                          But, it's time to move on and make it a learning experience for the youngster.... as well as a little bit for Sparks (i.e., you should (a) avoid making the kid feel like you'd see him as a loser if he admitted he was afraid to go out and pitch, oh, and (b) stop believing everything your teenager tells you).

                          The big issue that the boy hopefully should have learned is what many call the "Watergate rule" - it's not the crime, it's the cover-up. (Should we now call it the Bobby Petrino rule?) While there would have been few consequences if he'd simply owned up to the fact that he didn't feel up for the big game after his injury, the fact that he was afraid to tell the coach and lied about not being contacted is what really screwed up his relationship with the coach and, as Tradeasaurus accurately notes, made you look like a fool and made the whole family look disfunctional. (I won't say it screwed up his year, as it sounds like he had a decent time in JV.) It's fair to sit down and take an hour together walking through the situation, so he realizes the importance of owning up to mistakes and keeping them from escalating. It's a tough but important lesson to learn.

                          Oh, and thanks for sharing the clips with us. If he learns to stop dropping his hands, maybe he'll get somewhere.... The ball just jumps off his bat.
                          sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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                          • They had tryouts this past weekend for travel ball. It's going to be most of the boys who we won the fall state travel championship with.

                            My boy hinted that he didn't want us to come to tryouts. It was really no big deal, to me. My wife decided to stay home but I went. I only stayed for about 15 minutes. I just wanted my boy to see me in the stands.

                            He probably doesn't know it now, and who knows, maybe he never will but I think it's important that I be there...if only for a few minutes.

                            When I played ball I was never very good. I was always the kid that tried the hardest but had a dead arm and ran the forty in about 10 seconds flat.
                            Couldn't hit the side of a barn when batting but I loved the game and the coaches could tell I tried my best. When I got into my teens the level of play went up and I was pretty much cut from the teams I tried out for. Not to mention coming from a broken home I went from school to school and could never settle in.

                            Yet, when I did play I remember always seeing my dad there watching me. He made a point to come to as many practices as he could and all my games. When I played football he knew I wouldn't get to play yet I could see him in the stands and every time I turned to look at him he would give me a huge smile. I'm not sure now if I knew then what it meant to me but I do now. It's a cherished memory that is a special memory of my dad and me. Oh I wanted to hit him a homerun or score a touchdown....I wanted to do that so very bad. Sadly, I never did. Yet, after every practice and every game we would talk about the game and he often told me how he loved to see me hustle. "Son", he would always say, "the other boys may be bigger and faster but you hustle more than any kid I ever saw". He would always tell me how proud he was to see me hustle. And hustle I did..... oh man no one gave it more than I did. My high school coach actually told me once I would be the best player he ever saw if I had a lick of talent. He was serious. But I was slow and undersized to boot.

                            One day, it was a day all of us lesser players dream about.... one day at football practice I had the day of my life. I was playing line backer and no matter what play the coach ran I made the tackle. I made virtually every tackle in scrimmage that day. After every play I would see my dad grinning from ear to ear and a few times I saw him slap the back of the parent standing beside him. Oh was he proud. I did so good in that practice that I actually got the start the next game....but didn't do very well. You wouldn't have known it from looking at my dad though......he was just as proud is if I had been the all star.

                            So I went to my boy's tryout even though I knew he really didn't want me to. I sat up in the bleacher as far away from the field as I could. I just wanted him to see me there.

                            I wonder, when I left early did he look in the stands and wonder where I was? I doubt it but that's ok too.

                            Sparks
                            Last edited by Sparksdale; 05-01-2012, 11:53 AM.

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                            • Sparks - I know that you have taken some heat in this thread about being that "helicopter" parent that is pretty cliche. Even I read a post in this thread and say "man, no he didn't....." With all of that said, this last post epitomizes the love you have for your boy. You feel every up, every down, every strikeout at bat, every strikeout while pitching - likely even more than your boy does. You just want for him so darn bad! My two kids are younger, but I know the feeling. I got crucified on this board last year because I was complaining that my 7 year old got jobbed from making all stars. People claiming that "all stars for 7 year olds is ridiculous", etc. Well you know what - it wasn't ridiculous to my 7 year old who had friends make a team that he didn't make. I cried because he cried.

                              I get you and your relationship with your boy and baseball. I'm LUCKY becuase my sons - now 8 and 11 - hopefully have "many" years left to play. You started this thread when your boy was 10 and now his window for playing is limiting - hopefully he plays at the next level, but you just never know. You are going to miss it like crazy when you don't have a game or practice to go to. I dread that day myself......

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                              • Richmond,

                                I know my boys days are limited as his high school days come to a close. I think that's partly why I was so upset over how things went with this year (his sophomore year). I knew without a doubt that my boy was going to be a great Sophomore player. Right now he's ahead of most of the kids his age (talent wise). I knew his 10th grade year was going to be his year and it's the year I've been waiting on for so very long. To have it all blow up like it did just sucks to be blunt.

                                I'm starting to see now..... I'm seeing kids who weren't all that good and just hung around the game...they are getting bigger and better. There is one kid on our school team that shot up to 6 foot and his arm went with him. He's never been a good player and mostly played the bench his entire life. Now he's throwing fastballs at the speed of light and hitting balls to the moon. He's only one of a few players I've noticed that are doing this.

                                My boy is still a very good player but it looks like he's through growing. He might be 5' 9" tall and even though he's throwing about 85mph now.... he may never throw harder. Maybe he'll hit a little harder with age and muscle growth but he probably won't run much faster either.

                                So next year his Jr. year.... he may very well be just one of the players on the team instead of the standout he's been all his life.

                                I will say I've been luckier than most. I've seen him dominate and be a great player. I've also seen the downside when his temper got the best of him or what ever.

                                It is my hope I've instilled in him a love for the game and if he finds his playing days are over I hope he will consider coaching and passing on this love for the game..

                                Sparks

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