By Brad Groghan
August 01, 2006
In spite of the best efforts of soccer moms and the left politically
correct side, youth sports still offer our kids many valuable
lessons that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Not
just the ability to work and accomplish goals or to work together
in a team environment. But sports also teach our kids how to
deal with losing! And how to handle giving their best effort
but still failing at something they love.
We live in a generation of parents that want to do away with
keeping score at youth sport's games so the "loser"
doesn t have his feelings hurt. They think all players should
play the same amount. Don't reward the over-achievers. Instead,
bring them down to the level of the under-achievers, so everybody
is on an equal level. I strongly disagree with this. I'd much
rather my child learn how to deal with and overcome failure at
an early age, on a ball field competing against his friends,
rather than not tasting rejection or an "unfair" situation
until he s 22-years-old and applying for his first job in the
Unfortunately, a large group of parents today cuddle and spoil
their "dream" children. If said child gets in trouble,
does not make a team, doesn't get the lead in the play, fails
a test . . . it's NEVER the child's fault! The teacher must not
like him, the coach was unfair, it was his friend's who started
the trouble and dream-child just happened to be there.
My son didn't make the all star baseball team last year as an
11-year-old. He was right on the bubble and could have easily
been selected. I didn't call the coach and complain, didn't write
letters to the newspaper and didn't think there was a big conspiracy
against him. Instead, we went out and practiced the entire off
season. We hit at the field, we played catch inside gyms during
the winter, I threw/hit him hundreds of ground balls. The result?
He hit over .500 this year and was his team's best pitcher. His
performance made it impossible to keep him off the all star team.
He let his play on the field do his talking for him, not his
parents writing letters and complaining. Now if he just had the
same passion for his math homework . . . . But seriously, I put
in the extra time because my son loves to play.
NOW, to specifically address the current slew of baseball letters.
You have to ask yourself some important questions. Why would
the coach purposely keep your kid off the team? Why would a coach
pick board member's children? Why would the coach NOT pick the
best players? Believe me, coaches want to win, especially during
all star tournaments. And 99% of the coaches out there try and
put together the team that they feel will give them the best
opportunity to win. Sometimes your kid is in that group, sometimes
they aren't. Sorry, but your kid can't always be the best, can't
always win, can't always date the popular girl . . .. sometimes
other kids are just better. Life is tough sometimes. Sports build
character and self-asteem. Just because you play, doesn't mean
you automatically should make the team.
I personally would like to thank Majors all star coaches Dan
Lindgren, Les Silva and Todd Day for the hard work and time and
effort they put forth in coaching our Ketchikan team. Three hour
practices every night, and they all took over a week off of work
to coach our kids. And to say that our team was put together
of kids that didn't deserve to be there . . . . that's an insult
to every kid who was chosen to play all stars. I watched as many
little league games as anybody did this year.. And all 12 kids
on that all star team deserved to be there. They all should be
very, very proud of themselves. And NONE of them should feel
like they made it because of who their parents are.
A letter writer is correct in saying that all three coaches'
sons made the team. The three boys also happened to be the three
best players on the team that went 17-1 and won the league championship.
All three were dominating pitchers and hitters and all three
boys will be first round draft picks into the juniors next season.
Those three players make the team and are starters regardless
of who coaches.
I believe the selection process is as follows. The top four vote
getters from a player's vote make the team. Then the managers
get together and vote on six more players. The all star manager
then gets to round out the team by selecting two players of his
choice. There is no conspiracy. No manager said " this
kid should be on the team, but his parents aren't on the board,
his dad isn't a coach and his mom is not friends with my wife
- so let's not pick him. Let's pick a player who we think won't
help us win instead." The players and managers pick the
players they think will give the team the best chance to win.
Four players made it from the championship FSA team. Tongass
finished in second place and had two players make it. First Bank
finished in third place and had three players. McDonald's finished
in fourth place and had two players, Andres Oil came in last
and had one player. Sounds like a pretty fair representation
of players. Should McDonalds, the fourth place team, have had
more players selected than the three teams that finished ahead
of them???? I personally watched all 12 all stars play in at
least 10-15 games during the regular season, and all of them
were legitimate all stars. End of story.
In all sports, even up to the pro level, the final two or three
players on a team are going to have similar talent as the final
two or three players who were cut. Unfortunately there has to
be a cutoff somewhere. Some good players are gonna be left off.
Let's not forget that making an ALL STAR team is an honor, not
a right. If your kid or my kid didn't make it, it's because his
peers didn't vote him in, and he didn't perform well enough to
impress the coaches that he was one of the 12 best players. Hitting,
fielding, attitude numerous things come into play. And just
because a kid doesn't make all stars doesn't mean that he's not
an excellent player. This isn't an attack on anybody. I didn't
make all star teams or all the teams I tried out for. My son
has not made all star teams or teams he has tried out for.
Let's not blame the other players, coaches, parents or board
members for this. Let's help our kids learn from the situation
by teaching them how to deal with adversity and failure. Maybe
it will spurn them to work harder - not just in sports, but in
other avenues of life as well, as they strive to avoid future
disappointment. Let's set them up for future success, and not
teach them how to blame others when they don't succeed.
Our little league and high school teams have not been losing
the last couple of years to Sitka and Juneau because Ketchikan
coaches are picking the wrong players. Juneau plays baseball
year round, renting out gyms during the offseason. Sitka parents,
businesses and coaches came together and BUILT an indoor baseball
facility, so kids could practice year round. How has this paid
off? By numerous Southeast and State championships. But MORE
importantly, Juneau and Sitka baseball players are getting college
scholarships and being drafted into the Major Leagues! From Chad
Bentz playing in the pros, to EB Crow being drafted this year,
to guys like Matt Way and Joe Ayers playing for PAC 10 teams.
At worst, an indoor facility just gives Ketchikan athletes another
activity for them to do, rather than playing Xbox, cruising,
smoking weed and drinking beer, etc.
Ketchikan has always been a basketball town and is now being
taken over by soccer. But we've got a great baseball tradition,
some excellent baseball minds - old and new - let's get something
set up for our baseball players! Call it the Al White Baseball
Center, get some old coaches like Jerry Collins, Ken Lewis, Tommy
Craig and White up to share their expertise, and then have the
young teachers like Dave Price, Rob Benson, the Siversten twins,
Greg Gass, the Smith brothers - the list goes on and on - come
in and start training our athletes. Sitka is building a baseball
dynasty. Let's get together as a community and give our players
the opportunity to start competing for college scholarships!
I apologize if my letter offends any parent out there. It was
not directed at any one specific letter writer or angry parent,
but to the road that a lot of parents in today's society seem
to be going down.
Let's let our kids settle it on the field or the court! This
is their time to compete and have fun!!!! They can worry about
politics, unfairness, backstabbing, nepotism, etc when they get
Ketchikan, AK - USA
About: " Lived in Ketchikan
30 years, raising a 12-year-old who loves to play sports."
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on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
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