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Carol Perkins: Summer means baseball and softball in our area

Fortunately, not all parents try to make their kids re-live their own sports dreams. The writer says she feels fortunate to have sons-in-law who understand when her grandkids aren't as enthusiastic about the sports as they were. Still, not all parents are so reasonable. She quotes a coach who said, 'Coaching kids is easy. Dealing with parents is the worst part,' and comments, 'I understand both sides. No parent wants to admit other children catch better, hit better, or run faster. None wants to see children, especially their own, be excluded from all-star teams or traveling teams. Life happens, but it shouldn't happen before a child is ten.'
The next earlier Carol Perkins column: Carol Perkins: VBS was more creative in old days

By Carol Perkins

Summer means baseball and softball in our area. Drive by local parks, you will see parents and grandparents on bleachers, waiting for their child or grandchild to walk to a plate. This is a tense moment. If the child hits the ball, there is relief. If he swats at it like he is killing flies, it is a moment that lasts forever. T-ball is the beginning of what will be, could be, or won't ever be a future for a budding or not so budding athlete. While the kids may not place much importance on hitting, catching or running at this age, so many parents sweat bullets comparing his to others on the team.


When well-meaning parents sign little Billy or Sally up for any summer sport, it is for two reasons (usually): so the child will be participating in something other than video games or because every other kid is going to be playing and they don't want to leave theirs out. Whether or not a five-year-old WANTS to play t-ball is seldom an option because at that age he/she needs to be participating. I am all about exposing children to all types of activities. My grown children will attest to my "just see what you think" attitude when they were young.

My grandchildren, as you know by now, do not live here, so I miss out on their activities. Luke, the oldest, played T-ball and little league but grew disinterested. His dad played baseball through college, so I know he had hoped for his son to enjoy the sport, but Luke found his interest in basketball, swimming, taking guitar lessons, and the Boy Scouts.

Eme didn't like baseball either, preferring soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, and swimming. Noah played T-ball this year and I noticed that he kicked dirt around second base more than he watched the ball. The coach had to tell him to run when he hit the ball and he ran without much excitement. After the game I said, "Noah, did you have fun?" His reply, "Yes, can we have a milkshake now?"

Joseph, in Brentwood, didn't seem much interested in T-ball either. His dad would have wished he had strutted up to the plate as some of the little kids did whose parents or grandparents had obviously been working with them since their first tooth, but Joseph spent more time looking at me to see if I were watching him than he did the ball. He found his niche in soccer and cross-country.

Jon and Mark (my son-in-law) do not appear to want to live their glory days through their children, but deep down I'm sure would have liked them to love baseball and football so they could have walked the sidelines and swelled with pride at homeruns and touchdowns. That is natural, but some parents go too far and go "ape crazy" over their child's success or failures.

What do they want? They want stars! They want All-Stars. They put so much pressure on their young child that the kid can't play for looking at Dad to see if Dad (or Mom) is approving. Then at the end of the game, a dad often walks to the car, pointing out the child's mistakes to "help" him. We've all seen this happen.

Not all parents are pushy or obnoxiously narcissistic about their own children, but a large number are.

One coach said recently, "Coaching kids is easy. Dealing with parents is the worst part." I understand both sides. No parent wants to admit other children catch better, hit better, or run faster. None wants to see children, especially their own, be excluded from all-star teams or traveling teams. Life happens, but it shouldn't happen before a child is ten."

I am one of those women who wants every kid to be an All-Star and every kid to get a trophy. Guy says I need to get in the real world. I like mine much better. - CAROL PERKINS

Carol and her friend Susan Chambers can be heard twice weekly on Carol and Susan-Unscripted each week on n 99.1 the Hoss radio, Edmonton, KY, on Tuesday mornings from 10am-12pmCT and on Sunday afternoon from 4pm-6pmCT. Contact Carol at cperkins@scrtc.com


This story was posted on 2013-06-23 10:14:06
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