SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



By Ken Lewis


June 07, 2006

I have coached more than 400 ball games in my time in the boys' divisions from Tee Ball to 4-A High School levels. I now am assisting at the Girls' softball Tee Ball Level until they find me out. This means I haven't a clue about self esteem, Doctor Spock's baby rearing methods or making parents happy. And you bet-cha I have run into an Umpire whose ego is just as big as mine, the difference is, he always gets the last say. Coaches who never stand up for their kids at the competitive level, should expect their players to spout off, unless of course it does not matter. Baseball is never supposed to flat line. I predict our girls will kick our boys' back sides in ten years, especially if we keep telling our boys to back off, and evil men like me teach our girls the proper technique of sharpening their spikes. Do not foil my master plan. And keep thinking that leaving all kids in the middle is a solution to the no child left behind. Gosh I hope we are not teaching our children how to read this way.

I am guilty of taking a young man's hamburger and throwing it in the garbage, yes I am evil. Even with the starving children in Somalia, I chose to waste that food rather than send it UPS overseas. To me, it was time to focus on the game, not run a day care of chaos. Whether the International LL rules say it is OK to pound food during a game or not, food has always been unacceptable to me when 1-2 hours of focus on the game itself is what the game deserves. If leagues rely on volunteers to work, good luck finding volunteers if organized baseball turns coaches into recess ladies.

The day K-town wants to find its once respectful place back on top of the Alaska baseball heap, is the day the grown ups get on the same page to a positive solution. Nothing has changed; it is always the adult that brings negativity to the greatest game on earth. We stick a 6 year old in the developmental tube at Tee-Ball and at the end of that tube may spit out a Varsity Senior playing his/her last game. What the K-Town baseball family does between those points enhances development or retards it.

The self esteem police implemented a No-Keeping-Score policy to protect feelings many years ago. I view this social experiment as a failure. For those who think 8 year old boys and girls do not have a natural human instinct to win, I would suggest you throw six candy bars in a dugout of 12 and then send that film to America's funniest videos. Competition is fun. Lowering the bar to please a grown up who has never got over being picked last for Dodge Ball, does not allow the mot aggressive players to lead the middle pack to higher levels.. The results are in. Teaching a kid to get in front of a groundball (potential bad hop) when being safe or out has no meaning, is not teaching the basics of baseball. It is making the game meaning-less. No one can show me (proof) that team numbers have grown, volunteer numbers have grown, or the finished competitive product is better since the NO-KEEPING SCORE experiment was implemented. Do not blame X-Box and MTV; let's try making the game as (if not more) exciting. The last of the keep score kids, were the best base runners, had multi sliding techniques and lit that valley up with excitement. That self esteem was self created, not policy hindered. Let the kids accelerate their game, let the best lead and I am sorry if someone s glasses got broke in the 4th grade, you are an adult now, and should be gardening, not changing baseball rules. Today's metal bats with its high tech composites have produced five feet of additional flight per year for the last ten years. The bats have got better; let s focus on the team player development. Not get in awe of technology in the hands of one individual.

Build them a training facility, provide them with competitive coaches and quit whining, and this baseball machine will take off like wild fire. The Sitka High School Wolves will give their Little Brother Little Leaguers all the incentive necessary to succeed to higher levels of fun. Their baseball family built a training facility. In two years, the HS Sitka Boys took State twice, and their fast pitch girls took their first state crown. Success breeds success. Finger pointing guarantees middle of the pack. Knock it off K-town.

Short story time: for the Self Esteem Police. A wonderful product of K-town baseball is playing college baseball today, when he was ten, his dad gave him a swat or two on the butt for crossing a standards line on the field of play. Letters to the editor about this incident went as far as predicting the worst for this kid's competitive future. Can someone from the Telletubies Big Hugs Club please explain this contradiction to me? Yes, I know I am the problem and should never question the direction of the feelings experts.

Kudos to the Sitka Baseball community for being solution oriented, they are getting their kids Baseball Scholarships and will continue to do so, while we blame volunteers. Excuse me while I never throw my kid 50 pitches, cuz I want to blame her coach down the road.

I am not sorry for what I just said. Nor, do I expect many who buy into the mandated self esteem project, to get it. Play some Buffy Saint Marie records and pretend she was one heck of a dodge ball player. Big Hugs.

Ken Lewis
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: Ken Lewis writes he "put in some time on the game, and watched pushy people change it".



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