Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Home of the Braves

Coach Rob here, to tell you that the 2008 Carmel Sports Association Soft Toss season is off and running, and our beloved Braves are UNBEATEN! That's right, due to my incredibly savvy coaching (shades of a combination of Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, John Wooden, Vince Lombardi, and my boyhood Mahopac Sports Association coach) the Braves haven't lost a game.

The Braves haven't won a game either. We don't keep score.


Anyway, once again it's a blast for me, and I hope for the team as well. It's a good group, and I can begin to see some really good skills coming together. My own beloved Sean is a work in progress, and that's OK - if he's having fun then I don't care. That's my first goal with these kids. My next goal is to teach them a love for the game of baseball. From there it's the teamwork and sportsmanship aspect. After that, we'll worry about the intricacies. Oh there are a few tough nuts to crack - making sure that the boys (no girls on the roster) focus on paying attention and not on the dirt below their feet. Then I make sure that they are worried about baseball, and not their families or goofing around with other players, and so on.

It's easier said than done, of course.

Naturally, Coach Rob is considered the big meanie by The Son, who still shares the same abode with him. That's because I don't always let him hit first, or get him every ball and stuff like that. Instead I play very fair, and I have my rules (oh, you want to be up? Don't ASK if you can be up!).

Coach Daddy was especially in big trouble last Saturday. Top of the second...we're in the field...and it is slightly chilly. Sean is asking when we'll be done. Move to the bottom of the second, as we're batting. Sean is up and I'm ready to pitch to him (we pitch to our own team). So I run a fastball in on his hands...

OK, just kidding. I pitch underhand and I'm lucky if a radar gun would even pick up the speed. It's that s-l-o-w. Anywho...the pitch does run in on Sean, and it hits his left hand as he swings. No biggie, or so I thought. Other kids have had it happen, so I just keep on pitching.

The molehill though turns into a mountain. Think Everest.

Sean is missing literally every pitch. Right now, he doesn't even look at the ball - he just swings and hopes to make contact. So compound the chill in the air with the sore hand and the swinging and missing and the fact that he's basically done playing, and we have a situation on A shoulder-shaking, waterworks-producing cry explodes out of him and now I balance that fine line of coach...and daddy. I hugged him and tried to keep him focused. That's where I needed Coach Dave to step in and finish pitching to him, with me helping Sean swing. When he finally hit one, I had to pick him up and help him run. It was to no avail. He was done.

Again, sigh.

This is where others need to step up around me (and yes, Sandi did just that). You see, if I push him to play, then I'm big-mean-monster-uber sports dad! But Sandi and I quickly marshaled our forces to agree that he has made a commitment to play and quitting will not be allowed.

Quitting is not something I'm a fan of. But I digress.

Thankfully it wasn't an issue, and Sean was back to being himself by Saturday afternoon, and he was a solid participant at practice last night. So we've dodged the bullet for now.

I won't name the other kids on the team because parents can sometimes get offended by such things. In fact somebody recently said to me that I shouldn't even touch them (high fives, pats on the head and the like) for that very reason. I know that's the reality of our crazy world but come on!

Sad. Very sad.

Anyway, I've put some pictures up on my Flickr site. Have a look and enjoy. Comments, as always, are welcome.

Oh and I'm pleased to say that, if only for a couple of weeks, I was back with the T-ball Giants again. One of my close friends is one of their coaches, and he needed a little assistance, so I jumped in, and will do so again whenever needed. The irony is that at last Saturday's game, neither of us had a child either in the game or even at the game site. What more needs to be said about love of the game and the commitment that we make to it?

1 comment:

Tim Parry said...

Sean should have charged the mound!