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  • Sparksdale,

    Let me relate a personal moment to you. During my junior year of college, on Spring trip, I won a start, and then the very next day was asked to relieve when our "super freshman" walked the bases loaded and gave up a grand slam. I pitched 4 shutout innings to earn the save. A few days later I got another start, and pitched into the last inning, 2 outs to go. In a 6-2 game I walked two batters and was pulled for a reliever after 120-some pitches. I was pissed at myself for walking 2 consecutive guys. Rather than actually be happy that we were about to win, I was pissed. As I came out of the game, my head and assistant coach were standing by the entrance with their hands raised to give me five. I walked past them in a rage and threw my glove at the wall, and sat on the bench thinking pissed off thoughts. I did not pitch a colle3ge varsity game again. My coaches would rather sit the 6'3 lefty throwing mid 80s with a 2-0 0.56 ERA then win with me pitching. I think about this situation almost every day in one form or another (I'm about to turn 39). We ended up losing in Sectionals (ranked 5th in the nation, D3), when our coach brought in 2 other relievers, not me. I have to live with that ... and despite success in other areas, it doesn;t feel good.

    I ended up getting some pro invites that summer, but no contract and no draft. I am confident that 2 teams were interested until they talked to my coach. At that time I was 155 pounds, and I'm quite certain that teams thought with added weight and maturity the velocity would increase even more. I'm sure that talking to my coach thwarted any interest the teams had.

    My whole point in this is to let you know that not everyone here is perfect. Some of us really struggle with the player-coach, dad-son situation that exists.

    My son is gifted athletically and academically, but really struggles with emotions. Some of buddies say "plant a potato, get a potato". I continue to explore strategies to keep my son from reliving my experiences.

    What I can tell you is that every kid has flaws. You don't often hit the jackpot with a kid that excels in all aspects. What we have started to focus on is "getting better at things we're not naturally good at." Too often we're simply praised for the things that come easy to us.

    We all share experiences here to get input on how to work on some things, to let each other know that you're not alone, and to keep others from repeating our mistakes. If the community loses that aspect, it will lose its most valuable purpose, IMHO.

    Comment


    • Thanks Circle....... very nice post...... thank you.......


      Originally posted by CircleChange11 View Post
      Sparksdale,

      Let me relate a personal moment to you. During my junior year of college, on Spring trip, I won a start, and then the very next day was asked to relieve when our "super freshman" walked the bases loaded and gave up a grand slam. I pitched 4 shutout innings to earn the save. A few days later I got another start, and pitched into the last inning, 2 outs to go. In a 6-2 game I walked two batters and was pulled for a reliever after 120-some pitches. I was pissed at myself for walking 2 consecutive guys. Rather than actually be happy that we were about to win, I was pissed. As I came out of the game, my head and assistant coach were standing by the entrance with their hands raised to give me five. I walked past them in a rage and threw my glove at the wall, and sat on the bench thinking pissed off thoughts. I did not pitch a colle3ge varsity game again. My coaches would rather sit the 6'3 lefty throwing mid 80s with a 2-0 0.56 ERA then win with me pitching. I think about this situation almost every day in one form or another (I'm about to turn 39). We ended up losing in Sectionals (ranked 5th in the nation, D3), when our coach brought in 2 other relievers, not me. I have to live with that ... and despite success in other areas, it doesn;t feel good.

      I ended up getting some pro invites that summer, but no contract and no draft. I am confident that 2 teams were interested until they talked to my coach. At that time I was 155 pounds, and I'm quite certain that teams thought with added weight and maturity the velocity would increase even more. I'm sure that talking to my coach thwarted any interest the teams had.

      My whole point in this is to let you know that not everyone here is perfect. Some of us really struggle with the player-coach, dad-son situation that exists.

      My son is gifted athletically and academically, but really struggles with emotions. Some of buddies say "plant a potato, get a potato". I continue to explore strategies to keep my son from reliving my experiences.

      What I can tell you is that every kid has flaws. You don't often hit the jackpot with a kid that excels in all aspects. What we have started to focus on is "getting better at things we're not naturally good at." Too often we're simply praised for the things that come easy to us.

      We all share experiences here to get input on how to work on some things, to let each other know that you're not alone, and to keep others from repeating our mistakes. If the community loses that aspect, it will lose its most valuable purpose, IMHO.

      Comment


      • Circle, kids can act like kids sometimes. Your coach was a moron.
        efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

        Comment


        • Well Sparks, I for one still love reading your posts. It can be a learning lesson to us all. I'd just put the sanctimonious, holier than thou, nutjobs on ignore. Certain people on here ALWAYS have negative posts, except for when talking about their son. Seriously, just put them on ignore.

          Do you still throw with and catch for your boy? If not, I think that should be something you work on. I understand not wanting to catch for a 80+mph pitcher, so build a simple net and sit behind it with your glove just like you're gonna catch. Talk to him, develop his other pitches and his command. Have fun with him again. Practicing with my kid and having fun is one of the best parts of my life and our relationship has become so close because of that critical time. You can work on that change-up every day and have fun with your kid while doing it!

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
            One last thought...... I'll keep this thread going as long as my boy is playing but if I continue to get harassed then I don't need it. Things are hard enough in my life without people telling me what a sorry kid I have. I know his problems....... I've posted them on this thread for the world to see. My hope is maybe I can learn from all of you how to be a better granddad because frankly I'm not doing a very good job so far.

            Sparks
            Sparks, what you have done with your boy is something no one here has done and few are capable of. I for one, admire the hell out of what you did/do, and feel there is a great deal to learn from you and your grandson. You're understandably frustrated. I had hard enough time with two sons going through 16, I can't imagine a grandson at this time in my life... Keep posting. It is my belief that many, even those who have not walked the path and offer advise are learning much!
            Jake
            "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 Sparksdale View Post
              My hope is maybe I can learn from all of you how to be a better granddad because frankly I'm not doing a very good job so far.

              Sparks
              Strongly disagree Sparks. I think you're doing fantastic with your boy and he is very blessed to have you. It's obvious you care for him and are there for him, something a lot of boys would love to have that don't. No one gave us an instruction manual on how to raise kids. All we can do is what we think is best and it's clear you are doing that and more. I think you're doing a very fine job in a very difficult situation.

              -JJA
              The outcome of our children is infinitely more important than the outcome of any game they will ever play

              Comment


              • Originally posted by clayadams View Post
                Well Sparks, I for one still love reading your posts. It can be a learning lesson to us all. I'd just put the sanctimonious, holier than thou, nutjobs on ignore. Certain people on here ALWAYS have negative posts, except for when talking about their son. Seriously, just put them on ignore.

                Do you still throw with and catch for your boy? If not, I think that should be something you work on. I understand not wanting to catch for a 80+mph pitcher, so build a simple net and sit behind it with your glove just like you're gonna catch. Talk to him, develop his other pitches and his command. Have fun with him again. Practicing with my kid and having fun is one of the best parts of my life and our relationship has become so close because of that critical time. You can work on that change-up every day and have fun with your kid while doing it!
                Us nut jobs who played ball at into college and have kids who have been through the baseball experience and watched the play and behavior of many other don't have a clue as to what we're talking about. Dads with ten year olds are so much more experienced and informed. There's nothing I've told Sparks that isn't real. But since I'm clueless I won't provide anymore advice. The last time I left this board was because I got tired of jackasses like you who don't know what they're talking about criticizing those who do. I have more baseball knowledge in my pinkie than you have in your entire head.

                Sparks, here's my last piece of advice. There will be no more. Sometimes you have to let a teenager fall out the tree and land on his head. Then he has to decide what he wants. You can't want it for him. You can only provide guidance when he wants it. Adios!
                Last edited by tg643; 06-11-2012, 10:43 PM.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                  Us nut jobs who played ball at into college and have kids who have been through the baseball experience and watched the play and behavior of many other don't have a clue as to what we're talking about. Dads with ten year olds are so much more experienced and informed. There's nothing I've told Sparks that isn't real. But since I'm clueless I won't provide anymore advice. The last time I left this board was because I got tired of jackasses like you who don't know what they're talking about criticizing those who do. I have more baseball knowledge in my pinkie than you have in your entire head.

                  Sparks, here's my last piece of advice. There will be no more. Sometimes you have to let a teenager fall out the tree and land on his head. Then he has to decide what he wants. You can't want it for him. You can only provide guidance when he wants it. Adios!
                  TG, I'm not sure why you read Clay's "nutjob" reference as being about you, but I guess it struck close to home, eh? Sparks has taken a ton of criticism from all corners - me included - but is still willing to post. Sorry that you don't want to take the heat.

                  I think part of the value of this thread is that if offers a time-lapse series of snapshots that, as Sparks pointed out, are unedited and unvarnished. It gives us the picture of a very human grandfather and an equally human kid coming out of a very bad domestic situation and trying to make it from one day to the next. There is tremendous value in Sparks showing us the depths of his hearts rather than trying to sanitize his thoughts to avoid criticism. Everyone of us has at some point made excuses for our kids and, while there's value in telling Sparks this, it defeats the purpose to be caustic about it.

                  Even knowing Sparks' propensity to sugarcoat his descriptions of his boys' shortcomings, the current story is very valuable at a lot of levels. The important thing has nothing to do with winning the championship at some TB tournament that will be forgotten in a couple of weeks. It has to do with a very teenage teenager who's full of himself and his distractions and who seemingly is taking a too-casual attitude about his future in baseball. Anyone who's been involved in baseball through high school has seen dozens of kids fall off the path in a comparable way. And, if even half of what Sparks says is accurate, the kid found a key to re-open the door to his inner warrior.

                  Sure, pitchers who call out infielders for bad play are in most instances showing immaturity and possibly creating team disunity. But this wasn't a HS varsity game; it's just some silly summer tournament. For the moment, he found something that re-lit his inner fire. Sure, it would be great for a kid to have that fire burning in both practice and in games. But that combination is rare. But, at the very least, he found teammates who thought that a TB tournament wasn't all that important and had started to dog it, and he decided that this was beneath his standards. That's what life is about - meeting your personal standards, whether it's pitching in a state championship game or making pizzas at a whole in the wall pizzeria. Given the kid's recent apparent lethargy, I'd say on balance it was a good thing for him. I don't expect that everyone will agree, but don't go all knee-jerk and decide that it wasn't what you would have done in that circumstance; look at the larger picture. Even if the kid was wrong about whether his teammates were exerting enough effort, it got him riled up.

                  It's a pithy, catchy thing to say that "Sometimes you have to let a teenager fall out the tree and land on his head." But, maybe the lesson can be learned by letting the kid fall out of a tall hedge and let him wear a helmet so that the lesson is learned and the damage is minimized. Kids only go through the path once, so you can't completely sacrifice their futures under the rationale of "teaching them the consequences of their decisions". Yes, I think Sparks should back off a little and let the kid suffer some consequences, largely for these reasons. But he can't fall too far, or he'll simply end his career in baseball. And, if you make it look to the kid like his future in sports is more important to you than it is to him, then you're essentially allowing him to extort things from you under the threat that he'll quit the game.
                  sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

                  Comment


                  • TG, first... Ursa expressed my sentiments to perfection. YOU weren't who I was referring to. The cult following, nut job knows exactly who he is. HOWEVER, I might like to point out (as a former psych student) that your jump to quick self identification said worlds. (Along with the response you're about to make.

                    Personally, I come here to learn. I will 100% admit that I don't know as much as you or even Sparks does. I played in high school, but baseball was nothing but fun for me. My natural athleticism (for this sport, not necessarily others) got me my spot, not any knowledge of the game or years of playing. I stopped playing in LL, then tried out my senior year and made it. HOWEVER, I have zero experience going through this journey as a parent. I want the passion and fun for the game (and other sports) to remain in my kid. Everything Sparks says helps me to learn from mistakes he may have made, and victories he accomplished. It's very inspiring. I'm grateful there are people that are still willing to open up like this instead of attempting to perfect their words and only post the silver linings. WE ALL see the best in our kids and seem to often overlook the bad.

                    Comment


                    • I think this is very valuable thread for both younger parents as well as older parents. I have to say the biggest surprise for me going from the young ages (say 10 and under) to Spark's boy's age (16) is how erratic attitudes of the older age groups become, exactly what we're reading in this thread. At 10 and under, most kids will still do what dad and mom want them to do, will play baseball even if they hate it, will practice when they tell you to, etc.

                      By these 14-17 teenage years, all bets are off. Some kids will still be compliant, but this is exceedingly rare. At this age, a lot of kids simply quit the game because they have other interests, have a bad attitude (often times an erratic attitude where they have a bad attitude one day and good one the next), don't feel like practicing, have emotional outbursts, lose the hunger in the game that they had when they were younger, become extremely lazy, etc. It really was a big surprise, and it happens to a LOT of the kids. I shouldn't have been surprised, as that's why teenagers are notoriously difficult, but having known many of the kids since they were 5 and 6, it really did take me by surprise.

                      The question for the parent is what they can or should do when this happens. There is no easy answer here, which is why you're seeing such a debate here and tempers flaring a bit. A lot simply comes down to parenting style. That's why I'm hesitant to criticize anyone's answers in this thread as there are many different ways one could approach these unfortunately very common problems. Agree with Sparks or not, the guy is trying to do what he thinks best in a situation that is very hard. It's not easy, not easy at all, and hopefully folks will learn from this thread so if it happens to them, they'll have some perspective on what others have done in a similar situation.

                      -JJA
                      The outcome of our children is infinitely more important than the outcome of any game they will ever play

                      Comment


                      • Ursa,

                        OMG you get it..... thank God you get it!!!!! your post is exactly my point... oh my goodness you get what I've been trying to say only you said it far better. I guess this is why I'm retiring from writing.

                        Sparks

                        Originally posted by Ursa Major View Post
                        TG, I'm not sure why you read Clay's "nutjob" reference as being about you, but I guess it struck close to home, eh? Sparks has taken a ton of criticism from all corners - me included - but is still willing to post. Sorry that you don't want to take the heat.

                        I think part of the value of this thread is that if offers a time-lapse series of snapshots that, as Sparks pointed out, are unedited and unvarnished. It gives us the picture of a very human grandfather and an equally human kid coming out of a very bad domestic situation and trying to make it from one day to the next. There is tremendous value in Sparks showing us the depths of his hearts rather than trying to sanitize his thoughts to avoid criticism. Everyone of us has at some point made excuses for our kids and, while there's value in telling Sparks this, it defeats the purpose to be caustic about it.

                        Even knowing Sparks' propensity to sugarcoat his descriptions of his boys' shortcomings, the current story is very valuable at a lot of levels. The important thing has nothing to do with winning the championship at some TB tournament that will be forgotten in a couple of weeks. It has to do with a very teenage teenager who's full of himself and his distractions and who seemingly is taking a too-casual attitude about his future in baseball. Anyone who's been involved in baseball through high school has seen dozens of kids fall off the path in a comparable way. And, if even half of what Sparks says is accurate, the kid found a key to re-open the door to his inner warrior.

                        Sure, pitchers who call out infielders for bad play are in most instances showing immaturity and possibly creating team disunity. But this wasn't a HS varsity game; it's just some silly summer tournament. For the moment, he found something that re-lit his inner fire. Sure, it would be great for a kid to have that fire burning in both practice and in games. But that combination is rare. But, at the very least, he found teammates who thought that a TB tournament wasn't all that important and had started to dog it, and he decided that this was beneath his standards. That's what life is about - meeting your personal standards, whether it's pitching in a state championship game or making pizzas at a whole in the wall pizzeria. Given the kid's recent apparent lethargy, I'd say on balance it was a good thing for him. I don't expect that everyone will agree, but don't go all knee-jerk and decide that it wasn't what you would have done in that circumstance; look at the larger picture. Even if the kid was wrong about whether his teammates were exerting enough effort, it got him riled up.

                        It's a pithy, catchy thing to say that "Sometimes you have to let a teenager fall out the tree and land on his head." But, maybe the lesson can be learned by letting the kid fall out of a tall hedge and let him wear a helmet so that the lesson is learned and the damage is minimized. Kids only go through the path once, so you can't completely sacrifice their futures under the rationale of "teaching them the consequences of their decisions". Yes, I think Sparks should back off a little and let the kid suffer some consequences, largely for these reasons. But he can't fall too far, or he'll simply end his career in baseball. And, if you make it look to the kid like his future in sports is more important to you than it is to him, then you're essentially allowing him to extort things from you under the threat that he'll quit the game.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by clayadams View Post
                          TG, first... Ursa expressed my sentiments to perfection. YOU weren't who I was referring to. The cult following, nut job knows exactly who he is. HOWEVER, I might like to point out (as a former psych student) that your jump to quick self identification said worlds. (Along with the response you're about to make.
                          Who are these people anyway?

                          Comment


                          • Sparks,

                            This thread is one of the reasons why I still visit this site! Please keep posting and letting us know how you and YOUR SON are doing.

                            Everyone else,

                            Why do we assume that Sparks' son chewed out his teammates? Sparks didn't say, nor did he even ask, what his son said to the other fielders. When I read his post, I assumed his son said something to the affect of "Hey guys, it appears I do not have great stuff today, but I know you all have my back. Yeah, we have all made some mistakes, but if we all calm down and do our jobs, we'll get through this. I can promise you I'll do my best from here on out, what say you!". Heck, he could have even said "Sorry for throwing my hat down, but I can't believe I left that pitch so fat. It wasn't anyone fault but mine and I appreicate you all trying to bail me out. I'll do better....".

                            Back to Sparks,

                            Either way, I am glad to see the fire is back in your son and you enjoyed watching him play. My son (college age) is a few years older then your son and only has a couple of years (could be as short as one) left, so I try to enjoy every momment possible. Sometimes those momments are not what everyone considers to be the "highlights" of their career momments but they can have very special meaning to me and him.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by dw8man View Post
                              Sparks,

                              This thread is one of the reasons why I still visit this site! Please keep posting and letting us know how you and YOUR SON are doing.

                              Everyone else,

                              Why do we assume that Sparks' son chewed out his teammates? Sparks didn't say, nor did he even ask, what his son said to the other fielders. When I read his post, I assumed his son said something to the affect of "Hey guys, it appears I do not have great stuff today, but I know you all have my back. Yeah, we have all made some mistakes, but if we all calm down and do our jobs, we'll get through this. I can promise you I'll do my best from here on out, what say you!". Heck, he could have even said "Sorry for throwing my hat down, but I can't believe I left that pitch so fat. It wasn't anyone fault but mine and I appreicate you all trying to bail me out. I'll do better....".

                              Back to Sparks,

                              Either way, I am glad to see the fire is back in your son and you enjoyed watching him play. My son (college age) is a few years older then your son and only has a couple of years (could be as short as one) left, so I try to enjoy every momment possible. Sometimes those momments are not what everyone considers to be the "highlights" of their career momments but they can have very special meaning to me and him.
                              Because according to Sparks
                              Finally my boy threw down his hat and screamed at his team..... this was his exact words and everyone in the park could hear him. "EVERYONE CENTER CIRCLE NOW! RIGHT NOW!" His teamates eyes got big as dinner plates and all of them ran to the pitchers mound and surrounded my boy. My boy was looking each of them in the eye saying something and his eyes were on fire.
                              I don't see "Hey guys...." following "EVERYONE CENTER CIRCLE NOW! RIGHT NOW!"

                              Baseball is a hard sport that weans out the players who can't deal with failure.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by tradosaurus View Post
                                Baseball is a hard sport that weans out the players who can't deal with failure.
                                Respectfully disagree... I had a player who responded to a poor performance, both by himself and the team, much the same way Spark's boy did. He had a troubled past and could not deal with life when it did not go his way.... Through baseball, and his failures in baseball, he learned quite the opposite. He now a Company Commander for a U.S Army Ranger Unit. He has seen several tours in Iraq and Afghanastan and from all indications he's turned into a fine officer, soldier, father, and man... He's learned how to deal with failure more than most.

                                I really feel that many coaches do not optomize the learning potential of baseball and what it can do for those who have more difficulty with life... mostly because we have too many coaches who do not know the difference, and see failure as a weaning out process versus a learning process. They let themselves be weaned out because of their own inabilities. My greatest successes on the baseball field are those players who I would not "wean" out. Many of those potential "failures" have excelled as human beings.

                                LT. Dan in Iraq.JPG
                                "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

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