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Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Politics of Little League Part 2

WARNING. My own opinions. My own rant.

A few months, after I noticed my son was being pushed from one team to another without clear reason, I decided to join the little league board. Needlesstosay, the last few months have been an experience.

I've learned the cost to run a little league and the importance of sponsorship and volunteerism. I've met some wonderful people who care about the kids and would do anything to make sure their experience in baseball is positive.

However, like in any group that involves a certain goal, there are politics involved. I've seen it. I've experienced it. I've participated in it.

Of course, it's harder when your son is involved in the politics, and for that matter, harder to watch other well qualified children be disenfranchised simply because some coaches decide to "stack teams" in order to win games.

Our little league decided to send four coach pitch All-Star teams to compete in a tournament hosted by the Smithville's Little League. Four teams were created with twelve players each: Team 1, Team 2, Team 3, and Team 4. Although, this gives more kids the opportunity to participate in a tournament, one could argue, why have four teams if two of them are "stacked" with handpicked players, while the rest are divvied up.

Unfortunately, I was not present when the All-Star team selections occurred, so I don't know exactly how they were selected. Was it by draft matrix? Did the coaches make their choices based on tryouts and season records? Or did they just handpick their favorite players and created teams, while the inexperienced coaches were left with the remaining lot.

All I heard were a few parents dissatisfied with either the placement of their kid, the coach that was selected, or the hard to swallow, "why was my kid not selected."

A few days later, I heard one parent complain how the kids were divided up and how coaches from the two top teams--Team 1 and Team 2--selected their own players from the lot. I didn't understand what she was referring to until last Saturday when I saw on the tournament bracket that my son was on Team 4; although, he ranked 24th in tryouts and carried great stats during the season.

Although, parents were given the opportunity to switch their kids, I didn't think that was right. My son's All-Star coach cares about the kids and is tough when it comes to calls on the field. The way I figured, he chose my son, so we should stay with him.

And I am glad we stayed with Team 4. My son was challenged, he made new friends, and most importantly, he had fun.

Monday night, though, was his last and final game of the tournament. His team faced Bastrop Team 1. The previous game, which they lost on Saturday, was against Smithville Team 1. In other words, our boys had a challenge going into the tournament.

Although they lost, the boys came out swinging and played their hearts out. The best thing out of it was that they cheered for their teammates loud throughout each inning--whether it was cheering for the batter or yelling, "Defense!"

There's always next year. Perhaps by then I'll know more to actually be involved in the selection process.

In conclusion, if the little league plans on sending four teams, then it should be equally created to include kids who performed well during tryouts and kids who performed well during the season. But if the little league plans on sending two teams, then the 24 or 30 kids that performed well during tryouts and the season should represent the little league in All-Stars.

That's my thoughts.




 

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