little league

Both boys are in Little League right now, which wreaks havoc on our schedule — two practices and two to three games per week, and Husband is volunteer coaching for both boy teams. Crazy. But it’s just a short season, and it’s wonderful to go out to the park and spend time in the sun.

First Son’s team is terrible. They face team after team of exceptionally large children (First Son’s league has third, fourth and fifth graders) who dwarf them in size and skill. Who are these Vikings on the other team? How are children in fifth grade that much larger? It’s like predictable slaughter. First Son is fine, still finding his footing on this much larger stage. Wonder Twin Boy is having a good run, on a less competitive league, and is enjoying having his own space to shine. There’s no older brother on team and no twin sister to grab all the attention. He’s pretty good, having put in a lot time to practice these various skills I have no hope of ever emulating. I’m psyched he gets to feel good about himself. There is one jokester boy who plays First Base, and instead of trying to get you out, he says “Welcome to First Base” as if he were the concierge in some fancy hotel.

The least fun part of baseball, other than the hustle and hauling of heavy equipment (Husband schleps a lot of equipment), is the mental behavior of parents on the sidelines. Friends have warned me and say it gets worse as the kids age. There’s one boy in particular (referred to henceforth as “Kid M.”) on Wonder Twins Boy’s team who is pretty good out there, but his father regularly berates him. Today, Kid M. was diving for the balls — all of them do. They slide into first base, they somersault to catch balls. There’s no need to — it’s Little League, but they’re all imitating the MLB players they see on TV. I find it hysterical…but this dad, today, just went off on Kid M: “Stop diving for the ball! I’m sick of it. I’m sick of telling you to stay off the floor!” then after the kid’s response I couldn’t hear, “Don’t ‘sorry’ me.”

Parents yell at their kids. We’re not supposed to, but sooner or later, you snap — you’re tired, you repeat yourself ad nauseum — these conditions just lead to a breaking point.

However, when you yell at your kid in public, it’s an entirely different thing. It is much more humiliating for your child. Plus, everyone gets to witness what a douche bag you can be.

I notice this dad at every game because we all hear him yelling. Ugh, it’s brutal. As far as I can tell, Kid M is doing nothing wrong — he plays well, he listens to direction, he behaves, which is not true of the majority of kids out there. As his dad yells, Kid M’s face is neutral. You can’t possibly know that as a kid (or adult I suppose), that other people might be observing your situation. I am just writing this stupid post so that somehow, Kid M knows that we are all witnessing this behavior. Despite our own netural expressions, I can tell. The Coach always makes sure to go up to Kid M and tell him he did a great job with the classic male version of affection, pat on the back. We all think it’s wrong, and we all want him to survive and do well. All of us on the field and watching on the sidelines are in his corner. Some Buddhists direct meditations of loving kindness to specific people and their suffering, so if its possible, this is my blog post of loving kindness for Kid M. We are rooting for you. I hope you feel this energy somehow, grow up, be healthy and happy. Your father is in the wrong. I hope you see now or some day it has nothing to do with you, and if he can’t figure that out, get the hell out of there.

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