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Midnight Sun For Sale
by Ken Lewis


December 29, 2004

A whole lot of years around baseball in Ketchikan have never qualified me in coaching parents. I have however made observations over that time and developed an opinion about who makes the most of it. I know some kids who need a 125 foot by 125 foot steel building, with turf from wall to wall, so a 90 foot diamond can be laid out in one corner. The ceiling should be constructed so hitting cages can be dropped from it or if it's tall enough for a loft; the cages will go upstairs permanently. In any event this facility can enhance the development of all ages of baseball players and fast pitch girls programs 365. Fielding, throwing, base running, pitching, hitting and most twitch muscle responses can be developed at this practice facility. Scholarships will follow. I think the people who outsmarted the Sun should offer this type facility to our kids.

Participation and developmental leagues are a level to be satisfied with, or to accelerate out of as the body develops. Pepperdine, AZ St, Oregon, Long Beach St, San Diego, Utah and many small colleges have had K-town boys play baseball for them via our limited programs. 2 played Minors. No coach pushed them that far, it was what they did with available time between practices that made the difference. Most limits we place upon our youth are self imposed or assumed. They all play their last game eventually; time utilized determines that end.

The most harmful collective coaching decision made for our kids happened in 1983. For those who moved to SE AK after 1983. Here is a true story, with Ken's smarty pants telling of it. Up until 1983 we were on Pacific Time. This was an inconvenience to the new modern Alaskan communicating with New York City. A 5 hour time difference was unacceptable to these new Frontiersmen. These inconvenienced rugged outdoorsmen formed a committee, made their (I am victim of your stupid time zone) argument and changed our clocks so almost all Southeasterners were one hour closer to Time Square. That squeaky wheel greased itself; our kids were not asked, they did not care when Cricket was played in Istanbul nor were their dads firing up the barbecue at breakfast to harmonize with the dinner bell in France. Did anyone ever stop to think time zones were created for regional communities, to use natural daylight efficiently? No argument?

For every action there is an equal (so they say) but opposite reaction. Since that brilliant and self centered 1983 decision our SE Alaskan youth has lost over 8000 hours of recreational daylight to utilize for after school and for evening activities. In baseball time that equates to playing 3200 ball games back to back. Or here's another way to grasp it. 40 hours a week for 4 years. Who knows how many evening family hikes canceled or skiffs were not launched due to the new Gucci Boy sun down effect. Little kids getting off K-town school busses in the dark is a trade off of grown up convenience, never forget that, land of the last frontier. Time may be relative but our evening Sun Light was ripped off. Metlakatla was the only community willing to stand against this absurdity. Those people on Annette Island understand value of a real sort. Give it time and some Gucci shoe wearing Alaskan will want to steal just one more hour of evening light, to help complete our transition
of being a dark suburb of New York.

Just maybe, no one thought how this would deprive our regional recreation time, our kids, and our KPU bill, or maybe "us" prioritizing a connecting flight at SeaTac and still having time for a latte is what's really important. Time makes the difference developing our youth. One coach with 12 kids for a 90 minute practice can dedicate 7.5 minutes per kid. One parent spending 60 minutes 3 times a week on practice drills gives their kid the best chance to make it to Cal State Fullerton. Therefore what makes the difference, coach, parent or the use of time?

The passion of many parents in 1983 was never shouted out, and could have prevented the loss of 8000 hours of healthy physical development to this day. Development is all about time spent accelerating to a desired level. 60 minutes 3 times a week beyond organized practice empowers those destine to make a cut. It also teaches a kid better tree climbing skills, fishing skills, bike riding etc. etc. Giving away 7 hours a week of our kids time for 22 years was very generous? If reading skills have increased since 83, an argument could be made our youth may be taking advantage of sitting on the couch more. If X-Box and Play Station skills are better, why did we send them to the couch early? Of all the idiotic studies we pay for, and now that time has passed, study it then justify it without sounding selfish, I dare those who say "we" care. Oh yes and in this study, see if sales of Prozac, Zoloft and other anti depressants have gone up and by what percentage since 83.

Did You Know? Daylight deprivation and inactivity are interrogation techniques. Beware of any baseball-spikes made by Gucci. More power to the people of Metlakatla for knowing absurdity when it was presented like a Trojan horse gift, and waved goodbye to it without using all of their fingers. You provided many years of evening light to your community by just saying, stuff it Gucci Boy. This sheds a new light on the saying Indian-time. I hope sacrificing my kids' quality time helped Gucci Boy connect with a flight, make a phone call to Donald Trump and go heavy into Dot Com stocks after 11 am. Heaven forbid Gucci Boy should get his butt up early.

To end on a positive, thanks Mike Erickson and George Lybrand for using your resources and generosity putting lights and poles around the ball park due to this narrow 1983 decision. You were right Met, but no town in SE AK could see this, because evening sun is not as important as a dial up connection to those who brokered this deal. And children of South East, can you say... class action law suit? If a big boned person can sue McDonalds, I think each of you is owed 8000 hours of sun tanning booth time, or the equivalent in cash. Or heck, let's settle for following Metlakatla for once rather than letting a state-government-convenience, wag our dog.

Ken Lewis
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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