Happy July 4th! Hot dogs, hamburgers and watermelon for everyone! I hope that you enjoyed the day....
We had a terrific day beginning with a parade near the fairgrounds. The team was mandated to be part of a float in the July 4th parade. Needless to say, my boy was very very 'salty' as he left early in the rain and headed for the fairgrounds. I was ambivalent about attending a soggy celebration, so I took my time getting there. It was over when we got there, although I did catch the baseball team's float as they traveled back to the cars. The guys were smiling, waving flags, and joking in the rain, even my son. Although, when I finally spoke to him, he reverted back to that sullen 'it was a joke...why did they make us do that? I hate this place' type of conversation that I try to avoid at all costs. Yes, I try to avoid conflict of any sort...problem with that?
The last time that I left the blog, Buddy was going to have a conversation with the coaches, then we were going to pack everything that we could fit into the car, and leave town. He would then work out with baseball professionals and not little league coaches. Here is how it actually went down:
On Sunday, he approached the pitching coach, Stinky and shared with him the concerns that he had about his lack of development and use during the season. He mentioned that he needed a schedule so that he could continue to work out his body and strength train. He also said that he has not been given a chance to display his talents. He was very calm (he saves the rants for when I am listening) Stinky agreed. End of story....yep, end of story....he did not play on Sunday night....story continues, because it has not ended.
On Sunday, dad, Tink and I watched the game together. It was the second game of a double header in which Buddy's team won the first game. The second game was a different story and we were able to see what was going on from an objective perspective. As the starting pitcher fatigued, Stinky and Sparky (head coach) began to call out bullpen players. One by one, they entered the game and were unable to throw strikes. They were flat. The balls had no pop to them. Why? The answer is simple...they do not have training during the week. They do not throw except every few days. They have lost the edge that they came in with post season. In fact, all of the pitchers have regressed and not just Buddy. As one pitcher struggled greatly, it is the role of the head coach to walk out to the mound and relieve the pitcher and pat him on the back. The last time Sparky did this with Buddy, he cursed at him and told him that he was terrible. Back to the player on the mound, Sparky refused to go out to the mound since he was too upset. So, he let the dugout coach walk out and pull the pitcher. What does this say about Sparky's leadership style? Basically, he does not have one unless you want to call it passive-aggressive...then I would not use the word "leader" to describe him.
Dad was livid as everything fell into place. He watched Buddy be pulled out and humiliated unnecessarily on Friday night and saw Sparky's lack of coaching talent prominently displayed on Sunday. It was like fireworks on the 4th of July...boom!bang!...so evident....As we did a background check, Sparky never played college ball. In fact, he did not attend college. Furthermore, Sparky is part owner of the team, so he is focused on the bottom line financially and not what is best for his players. I was livid when I realized that the money from the 50-50 raffle that I participate in each game goes back into the coach's pocket. When the tickets are sold in the stands, the woman claims that the money goes back to the "team" so people think that it somehow goes to the players for Gatorade, uniforms, or pizza, but it doesn't. It goes back to Sparky! Some winners donate the money back to the team! If they only knew!
Where do we stand now? Buddy is going to 'gut' it out and stay until the bitter end. His father has given him permission to talk back to the coach if he disrespects him again on the mound. This is contrary to everything that we have taught the kid about communication and respecting people in authority. But the respect comes when it is earned, no matter what age a person may be. He has to take care of himself and communicate in a way that Sparky understands.
Upon reflection, it has not been a total waste of time. The kid has learned some valuable lessons that only life and an inept coach can teach. He has demonstrated perseverance and the ability to walk through the storm unscathed. Tonight the team plays against a foe from the northern part of the state. Two of his college buddies are on the team, so it will be nice to reconnect with them. And so, I, bullpen mom, will sit in the stands, let my mind wander to my 'happy place', cheer on the players, and NOT participate in 50-50.