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  • I moved this comment / question to a new thread.
    Last edited by johnlanza; 02-28-2013, 11:37 AM.

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    • I think a point that gets overlooked by Sparks, at times, is that he and the coach have very different goals. The coach's main goal is to build a solid program for the school and to win. Sparks main goal is the welfare of his grandson. If you look at the entire thread you can see how Sparks trys to balance his and the coach's goals but in the end there are times when it gets the best of him since his goal involves more emotion. With just the limited facts, I assumed that possibly the coach was looking at his schedule to see where Sparks jr. could help impact the team. Another thought I had was that we never know of Sparks jr.'s attitude throughout these struggles. One of my biggest questions with the last few pages of the thread involving the high school coach is this; Does Sparks jr. take the first step in trying to speak to the coach?

      Honestly has he taken the time to speak to the coach in a proper venue and time. Right after the game is not the appropriate time. I am not trying to bust chops but this key point always comes to mind with anything posted involving the high school coach.

      Comment


      • I want to say that I have had an experience that very few of you have probably been lucky enough to have. I've been aware of this thread over the past few years, but only once came into it. In that instance, without having read the thread, I simply jumped in on the argument of the day which happened to be radar guns. After that, I never came back becuase, frankly, when I figured out what it was, it really didn't interest me.

        Over the past three days, I have read this post from beginning to end. This, of course, took more time than reading a lengthy novel. I could not stop. My eyes are shot and I ignored work, but the read was a very compelling one. I agree that this should be the springboard for a book once the journey is over, Sparks. In fact, it would be even better if this thread didn't have to end for another decade. I really feel that I got something out of it I would not have gotten if I had been following it post-to-post over the years. I have literally laughed, cried, been surprised and overjoyed, angered and depressed. Wow! Additionally, it isn't hard, by the way to figure out exactly who the kid is and verify that Sparks has been downright honest about everything. It took very little research to locate everything needed to figure out this is in no ways a fictional account.

        The beauty of this thread has been Spaks's absolute devotion to baring himself to a sometimes hostile crowd. We have to admit that we've all seen a little of ourselves in Sparks. Sparks has just voiced all the things many of us have been afraid to say. Further, Sparks never backed down when it turned to personal attacks. It would have been easy for him to just abandon this, but he never did. It was interesting to see his naive opinions early in the thread and educational to see some of the things he has struggled with. This is more than the story of a youth baseball player or even an account of father/son or granfather/son relationships. Sparks has allowed us into his mind. To see ourselves through him. This is a psychological look that we have been blessed to be able to interact with. Sparks opened my eyes to my own relationship with my own son in ways that I could have gone my entire life without understanding.

        It goes so far beyond baseball. We even get glimpses of Sparks own struggles beyond that relationship. I know, for example, that Sparks has struggled with having to give up his own dreams for what he perceives as reality. I can tell he wants to give "his boy" every opportunity he can, but that he is limited adn further feels that he cannot pursue his own dreams.

        I want to share something with you Sparks. I used to feel the same way and have gone through many of the same things. I'm just a few years younger than you, but thought long ago that I had to give up the idea of what I one day wanted to do with my life. I had a job that always paid enough to make things comfortable. Just enough to not make it worth it to go after what I always wanted to do. Then that all came tumbling down. It was an opportunity disguised. I returned to college, completed my degree in three years with a 3.98 GPA (damned Roman History professor gave me a B) and earned a full scholarship to a top 40 law school at the age of 42. Now I make other decisions to balance my life. I've been working the past few years as a law clerk. If you don't know what that is, it's very prestigious work for a judge, but it doesn't pay much. I've had plenty of offers in the private sector which pay three to four times what I make now. I do it because it is a 9-5 (well, 8-4, but you know what I mean) job that allows me to continue to coach and to enjoy the ride. I also live in a world that doesn't have many 50yo law clerks. I've been all the way through this journey with two daughters, but this one has been special and I won't miss a minute of it. I see you are starting a new career, but don't give up that dream. Your writing can reach a lot of people. let it. I will be ordering your novels because I want to help and I want to learn more of what you have to teach. I'll also pass the info along to others and encourage them to do the same. Keep on trekking, Sparks.

        Comment


        • I just wanted at add that this thread and all of the advice in it has been great for a dad who's son is two years behind Baby Sparks. My son is the starting pitcher tonight for his Freshman team in their first game of the season, and it's against a perennial top team in the state. I admit to being nervous about the game even if I tell my son that this is only one game of many in his HS career. Reading the advice in this thread helps keep things in perspective for a rookie dad like me.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Roothog66 View Post
            ... The beauty of this thread has been Sparks's absolute devotion to baring himself to a sometimes hostile crowd....
            Root, since I've been involved in this thread from the beginning, I've wondered how it would play out by reading it in one swell foop, as you've done. Nonetheless, I've encouraged Sparks to at some point pull it together as a book, as he does have some writing experience, and of course he can turn to all of us amateur editors. And, notwithstanding my recent critical post, I've been one of those cautioning critics of him and others for being too centered on their kid that too much criticism will dampen the willingness of folks to bare their soulds, and it's important for us to be willing to spill even our selfish wishes and fantasies somewhere. With that said, it's also fair to caution the writer where it appears - as may be the case here - that those fantasies and emotions may be affecting his kid's attitudes and careers.

            Good luck with the clerking. I know a number of re-entry lawyers like you who've taken that path, as judges are less inclined than lawfirms to worry about extracting the most income from young law school grads with the smallest salary. And, knowing the process, it's good to see them bring life experiences and sense to their roles that the young hotshots cannot.
            sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by jbolt_2000 View Post
              Maybe I used bad examples because the players in my story were not as talented as Spark's kid and they got at very least minimum playing time.

              If the players were relatively equal and I just chose Jimmy over Johnny because he was 'hot' that week then I would have a better understanding of why Johnny was not playing and could give him more of a chance to get back on the field.

              My main point, though, is for Spark's kid or a similar kid to ask the coach what he could do to get more playing time or play another position if the kid in his position is obviously more talented. Rather than whine and complain about, "my kid is better than that kid so why isn't playing???" (Not saying Spark does that - just saying).
              For the most part, all coaching decisions are subjectively based on what they see in practice and games, unless there is a disciplinary action happening.

              Example: At our school, if you're late for practice you don't start, if you miss a practice (regardless of reason/excuse), you don't play the next game (at all)....period.

              Couple years ago, I was driving to practice, and saw one of the JV players walking home and yukking it up with his buddies. He didn't see me, and when I spoke with the JV coach to see if he was aware that the player would be absent, he informed me that he wasn't.

              Week later, I ran into the player's dad at the local Starbucks (I'd know them for years through the local league), and asked him how his son was doing, since he couldn't make it to practice the previous Thursday. He looked at me a bit confused, and said his kid wasn't sick, and told him practices went well all week.

              When I told him that his son did miss practice on Thursday, and why he didn't play on Friday....dad thanked me for letting him know, and said he "deal with it". Knowing the dad, I knew that not playing Friday was a far less "penalty" for the young man.....he did miss any practices after that.

              Like you, I'm not implying that that is the situation with Sparks' grandson, but it would be remiss of us to think that all HS kids are always straight up and honest with their folks. Just saying....

              --- If I am the head coach here - I would not play these players based on productivity. As a Head Coach your job is do teach players and win games is it not? Its not about making everyone happy. I mean if you lose enough, you get fired right?
              I think you might have a typo here, because unless I'm reading it wrong.....most all coaches base playing time on "productivity", and especially at the HS level, because in many (not all) situations, the coach's job as you stated, does depend on his ability to produce a winning program over the years.

              --- So if I am the head coach, and these parents/kids came to me yelling and complaining, I would put up my defense and then my ego would get in the way and say, "Its my team I coach how I want. etc, etc..." If they came to me and said hey coach, "we know these freshman are good, but I feel I am equally good, what am I doing different that keeps me off the field and what can I do to earn my spot back?" Then I probably wouldn't have my guard up and explain to them that yes these kids are good, but you are strong as well. these kids are playing because they make diving plays or make contact more in at-bats, or are more aggressive on the bases, etc... This at least gives that senior an understanding of my choices and gives him something to work on. Its not a lost cause but a goal now.
              Bolt, put together another thread with a similar conundrum to address your thoughts here....

              I don't know - maybe I'm not making my point clear or maybe I am totally off and when a High School coach says "Don't ask me about playing time", then he means "there is nothing anyone can do or say because I am all powerful and everyone must bow to my decisions or get the hell of the field."
              No you're making your point perfectly clear....but what you're not understanding is that the coach has his subjective opinions of all his players, and a player or parent is not going to change that simply by speaking with him.

              What do you think he'll say besides the pat answer of giving the player an idea of what he "needs to work on" to get playing time.

              Do you really think that the player or parent(s) don't already believe that he's doing all of those things? Remember, they came to the coach because they're convinced in their own mind(s) that he's better than those playing in front of him.

              So after they're little meeting, what would you say was benefitted by it....other than the coach is perceived as a "nice guy" who listened and pacified them?

              This is all I'm going to discuss about player selection and/or playing time here in Sparks' thread, don't want to hijack it any further......I'd be more than happy to discuss it further elsewhere though.
              In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Roothog66 View Post
                I want to say that I have had an experience that very few of you have probably been lucky enough to have. I've been aware of this thread over the past few years, but only once came into it. In that instance, without having read the thread, I simply jumped in on the argument of the day which happened to be radar guns. After that, I never came back becuase, frankly, when I figured out what it was, it really didn't interest me.

                Over the past three days, I have read this post from beginning to end. This, of course, took more time than reading a lengthy novel. I could not stop. My eyes are shot and I ignored work, but the read was a very compelling one. I agree that this should be the springboard for a book once the journey is over, Sparks. In fact, it would be even better if this thread didn't have to end for another decade. I really feel that I got something out of it I would not have gotten if I had been following it post-to-post over the years. I have literally laughed, cried, been surprised and overjoyed, angered and depressed. Wow! Additionally, it isn't hard, by the way to figure out exactly who the kid is and verify that Sparks has been downright honest about everything. It took very little research to locate everything needed to figure out this is in no ways a fictional account.

                The beauty of this thread has been Spaks's absolute devotion to baring himself to a sometimes hostile crowd. We have to admit that we've all seen a little of ourselves in Sparks. Sparks has just voiced all the things many of us have been afraid to say. Further, Sparks never backed down when it turned to personal attacks. It would have been easy for him to just abandon this, but he never did. It was interesting to see his naive opinions early in the thread and educational to see some of the things he has struggled with. This is more than the story of a youth baseball player or even an account of father/son or granfather/son relationships. Sparks has allowed us into his mind. To see ourselves through him. This is a psychological look that we have been blessed to be able to interact with. Sparks opened my eyes to my own relationship with my own son in ways that I could have gone my entire life without understanding.

                It goes so far beyond baseball. We even get glimpses of Sparks own struggles beyond that relationship. I know, for example, that Sparks has struggled with having to give up his own dreams for what he perceives as reality. I can tell he wants to give "his boy" every opportunity he can, but that he is limited adn further feels that he cannot pursue his own dreams.

                I want to share something with you Sparks. I used to feel the same way and have gone through many of the same things. I'm just a few years younger than you, but thought long ago that I had to give up the idea of what I one day wanted to do with my life. I had a job that always paid enough to make things comfortable. Just enough to not make it worth it to go after what I always wanted to do. Then that all came tumbling down. It was an opportunity disguised. I returned to college, completed my degree in three years with a 3.98 GPA (damned Roman History professor gave me a B) and earned a full scholarship to a top 40 law school at the age of 42. Now I make other decisions to balance my life. I've been working the past few years as a law clerk. If you don't know what that is, it's very prestigious work for a judge, but it doesn't pay much. I've had plenty of offers in the private sector which pay three to four times what I make now. I do it because it is a 9-5 (well, 8-4, but you know what I mean) job that allows me to continue to coach and to enjoy the ride. I also live in a world that doesn't have many 50yo law clerks. I've been all the way through this journey with two daughters, but this one has been special and I won't miss a minute of it. I see you are starting a new career, but don't give up that dream. Your writing can reach a lot of people. let it. I will be ordering your novels because I want to help and I want to learn more of what you have to teach. I'll also pass the info along to others and encourage them to do the same. Keep on trekking, Sparks.
                Absolutely wonderful post Root....thank you so much for that. Put things into a new perspective, and great summary of what it is all about.
                In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

                Comment


                • Originally posted by azmatsfan View Post
                  I just wanted at add that this thread and all of the advice in it has been great for a dad who's son is two years behind Baby Sparks. My son is the starting pitcher tonight for his Freshman team in their first game of the season, and it's against a perennial top team in the state. I admit to being nervous about the game even if I tell my son that this is only one game of many in his HS career. Reading the advice in this thread helps keep things in perspective for a rookie dad like me.
                  Good luck to him. Since we've followed his career almost as long as Sparks' grandson, this may well be worth a thread of its own. And there's nothing we can say to quell your nervousness; glad that you're at least trying to take the long view. Especially with pitchers, you are guaranteed that there will be good and bad days, and times where it looks like your kid will never get the call again.... and then there will be those magical days where your kid will face a monster hitter in a tough situation and throw the perfect pitch to finish him off...
                  LastPitchAntioch2011b_Sm.gif
                  ... and you'll wonder what race of pod people came from outer space and replaced your son with one of their own who can do things you never thought your kid could do. (Or, as I quote from Star Wars Episode III, "Anakin, I don't know you anymore!") Those are the days that (a) make it all worthwhile, and (b) give you ammunition to pull out forever after when your kid's self-confidence begins to flag, whether it's before a big test or a first date. I share your nervousness (okay, not as much as you're going through) but envy you the journey.
                  sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

                  Comment


                  • Sad horrible day.... OMG I never want this to happen again!!!!

                    As I got off work today my cell phone rang. It was the call you hear in your nightmares but dare not mention out loud. The call every parent refuses to believe will happen.

                    The person on the other end told me to get to the baseball field as fast as I can. A helicopter has landed in center field and they are there to get my boy...... little Sparks.

                    Terror ripped through my very soul. I put on my flashers and ran every red light while laying down hard on my car horn.

                    I pull up to the field and a helicopter is setting in Center field with a fire truck several police cars and an ambulance. I speed through the school parking lot and slam on my brakes. I jump out of the car in a panic and I see my boys coach. He just shakes his head. I scream WHAT HAPPENED? IS HE ALRIGHT??

                    Little Sparks is lying on a stretcher and they have him laced into the stretcher so tight that he can't even move his lips. I ask everyone WHAT HAPPENED?????? I get 10 different stories and the policeman refuses to let me in the ambulance where they are tending him. All I can think is why is this guy being an ass while my boy lies tied in a stretcher?

                    The Nurse or doctor or whoever finally opens the door and says come in. I've lost it and I'm pretty much out of my mind. Grown men don't cry....... I cried like a new born baby. Finally they tell me a freak accident happened and he fell and hit his head on an iron bar. When he came too he couldn't feel his fingers or toes. They tell me they've called for the helicopter to get him to a specialist as soon as possible. Then they make me sign papers and tell me I can't fly with him. I have to drive to the hospital which is 90 minutes away.

                    Watching that helicopter take off was like watching Death as it approached my soul and invited me in. My life, as sad as my life is, was flying away strapped to a stretcher. I guess I'm not normal in some ways but it's like this.... Sparks isn't just my grandson. He's the air I breathe and the light in my life. He's everything I love in this God forsaken stupid world. He's the only joy I've ever known.

                    At the hospital his coach comes in and the school principal. My cell phone is ringing off the hook and the battery is almost drained down. My wife is 800 miles away working and terrified.

                    Hours later the cat scan comes back and it's good news. Only a concussion.

                    Little Sparks will be ok. I've lost 10 years off my life.

                    Now the bills will start coming in..... I'm told the helicopter will probably cost $15,000 or more not to mention hospital and other charges. It may sound cruel to think of money right now but I must. I have a family and this is gonna hurt.

                    Thank God.... Thank my Lord God little Sparks is ok. He's lost at least 3 weeks of the season but at least he will be ok. When he was lying on the stretcher I didn't think of baseball or how fast his fastball was..... all I saw was my joy in pain.

                    Sparks

                    Comment


                    • I learned one more thing tonight.....

                      My boy's coach drove the 90 minute drive to the hospital. He and I didn't talk baseball.... not the time or place. After talking about life and stuff he told me something interesting...... he told me he loved my boy.

                      Now I may disagree with how he is coaching my boy but By God he won me over tonight. Maybe it's ok to disagree but what more could I ask from a coach than for him to love and care about my boy?

                      I'm not going to go back and erase any post..... I said I would never do that and I never will but I do want to make this clear. When I called my boys coach an idiot and stupid and stuff like that... I was wrong and way out of line. I still disagree with him but grown men can disagree on things.

                      Sparks

                      Comment


                      • I'm so glad your grandson is going to be OK. I can't imagine the agony you went through on that 90 minute drive. I hope he has a quick recovery. It's times like this that put things in perspective.

                        Comment


                        • Sparks,
                          I'm very glad to hear things are "basically OK". As for the bill, you need to find out what insurance the school has. Every type of event or field should have some kind of insurance.

                          Comment


                          • Sorry to hear about your grandson Sparks.

                            I could only picture my son in that situation and all I could do was freak out at the computer. I can't imagine what you are going through.

                            I don't know where the accident happened but if it was on school grounds it might be the school's responsibility.

                            http://www.stretcher.com/stories/980...m#.UTC2GzCL288
                            Last edited by tradosaurus; 03-01-2013, 06:11 AM.

                            Comment


                            • Glad he is okay, forget all the baseball drama, this is much more important.

                              Comment


                              • Hope your son gets better soon. I know my son’s school has insurance that pays what our health insurance does not pay. Hopefully your grandson’s school has the same type of insurance. As far as the concussion goes, it can be debilitating. Our son got a concussion in a football game this past fall. He missed two weeks before he was cleared to play again. His school work suffered as well. A concussion can really affect your ability to focus, so you may need to get with the appropriate school administrators to make accommodations.

                                Comment

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