Thursday, August 1, 2013

My baseball life...Part four...fall ball...member of the board

So after Summer ball year two, and my baseball family came together to give every member of my team an award on top of the participation trophy they got, and yes I do not agree with participation trophies as a rule but for kids this age playing games where we do not keep score dangling the carrot a little bit for them is a good thing. Really that is why I decided to give out awards based on what my kids actually did on the field that year. I wanted them to know that I saw how they performed and that I was proud of them. The awards went over very well and I have to thank my collection of baseball mom's for helping me get that done. A year and a half later kids and parents alike still talk about those awards so I know it was worth the effort and money I put into them. 

We also added Fall Ball to the curriculum after year two and I had about three weeks to find enough kids. Since most of my kids had now played two years of Tball and where six and older they were all going to be moving up to Coach Pitch leagues. So we brought back the entire team for fall ball and got started working on those skills. Of course my whole team came back but we still needed to find a team to play so I spent three weeks finding every little kid I could and getting them signed up for ball. Again with the help of my ever growing baseball family we were able to find enough kids and even added important pieces of the baseball family for year three. 

So it looked like for a long time that we were not going to have enough kids to play at all. I went to the board and was like look we just want to play. All my kids are coming back, I will coach both teams I will pitch the whole game let me go find the kids to play. It took a minute but we eventually ended up with two teams of 10 kids each. We transitioned them from Tball to coach pitch and since it was my first experience with fall ball we made a few critical errors along the way. 

To get enough kids and insure that we could play fall ball that year we moved a handful of Tball kids up to coach pitch early. It was a mistake that played itself out that fall and the following spring. So much so that instead of simply coaching one team in year three I felt so guilty I stayed in Tball to coach all the kids that had to go back down for one more year even though in my humble opinion most of them were ready, save one who became a rather large issue. 

This kid was five and had all the skills to play at this level, but he was going into kindergarten and just wasn't mentally ready to deal with his teammates or how I go about coaching. He didn't understand that sometimes the coach yells, sometimes the coach has to yell at the whole team to make his point, and that the coach is never happy. He was pretty good till school started, and in our neck of the woods it’s all day kindergarten so it’s a big change and we saw this kid change over night. One game he was the kid we had seen all season and in practice and the next he just couldn't cope with it anymore. I would go out and fire my team up and he would cry. I would yell at my team and he would cry and his mother got really upset and got pretty ugly with me in some post game comments. Again to their credit, my baseball moms where the first to come to my defense and at this point we are talking about moms who had let me coach their kids for three plus seasons. Let me yell at their kids, make their kids run to fence, and gotten the most out of their kids that I could. 

Fall ball was particularly hard for me because by that point there were at least two people too many in my marriage and my personal life and my family were disintegrating all around me. It was hard to keep all of that in check and it came to be that baseball became my escape from all that especially after my now ex wife stopped attending games. Baseball was now my happy place a place where none of the poor choices I had made mattered. It was the few hours a week that I could be happy and smile, even though I tried my hardest to screw that up as well. That would become a big part of my life and the theme for how involved I got from this point moving forward. 

Since I worked so hard to get fall ball off the ground the league invited me to be a member of their board of directors and it would set up all the things I would come to do in year three. 

Related Links: