Tryout Review: Bad Parenting Revealed

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As many visitors know, I coach a youth baseball team. We had our tryouts last weekend. Over 220 10, 11 & 12 year olds tried out for baseball last Saturday and Sunday. The tryouts help coaches to draft "even" teams and group players according to ability. The kids run the bases, field grounders at the shortstop position then throw to first, and they hit balls pitched from a pitching machine. As a coach I look for kids who can throw well and who "hustle." Every player on my team has hustle. It's not an easily identifiable trait, but I know it when I see it.

I remember baseball tryouts when I was a kid and I always wanted to show the coach that even though I may not be the most talented kid, I was a hustler. I would expect any kid trying out to give his or her best effort.

Unfortunately, that didn't happen in one case last weekend. There was one kid, a kid who is an excellent ballplayer, who purposely "dogged it" at tryouts so he would drop in the draft in order to be picked by a specific coach. This kid was easily the most talented athlete at the fields either day last weekend: he had played exceptionally well during summer ball last year and his summer ball coach made it no secret that he'd love to draft him. Unfortunately the coach had the fifth pick in the draft, so there was a good chance another team would pick him.

Apparently the kid's parents wanted him to be on that particular team because the kid was CLEARLY advised to "dog it." When running the bases he practically jogged. When fielding grounders he'd normally get to easily he purposefully bobbled the ball. When hitting he stood in as a lefty (he's a righty) and batted with a right hand grip! While in the batter's box he was seen to be grinning and staring out as his dad-as if they were both in on the joke. It was obvious to all the coaches and to the folks who were running the tryouts that this kid was "dogging it."

The coaches who wanted to pick him were mortified-both guys are not the type to engage in such chicanery. Other coaches thought the display was disgusting and voiced their displeasure in a variety of ways. Now I am not one to believe that a 10 year old kid can be so diabolical-he had to have gotten the idea from somewhere. One look at the SEG on his dad's face and it was obvious where he got the idea. What a piss poor example for a father to present to his son! If my kid did something like that, I'd be wicked angry at him, I believe you should ALWAYS give your best effort.

Now I coach in this league, I run the league website and compile all the schedules and I am on the Board of Directors. I spend hundreds of hours (along with many other dedicated people) making our league the best it can be for our children. When someone makes a JOKE out of what we do like this dad and his kid did, it pisses me off. It shows disrespect for the league, the coaches and all the other kids who were out there trying their hardest.

4 teams passed on the kid in the draft and he was eventually picked by the team that wanted him (I wouldn't want that kid on MY team because he showed he doesn't want to play by the rules-not easy to coach). We decided not to punish the kid by disqualifying him-but there are many dissenting opinions. I personally don't think the kid could have come to the decision to "dog it" on his own and knowing the history of the kid's father, (not the first time he's acted like an ass in youth sports) I can make the leap that it was HIS idea. You can't punish a kid for who his parents are.I am not sure how the father will be received once the season starts-I for one have very little respect for what he apparently advised his son to do. I can't imagine the move will be held in high regard by most parents with kids in the league.

On the plus side, it looks like I have a good group of kids and I can't wait to get out there and get them practicing. We got snowed out last night!

Please leave your thoughts on the kid "doggin it."

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