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Old 08-12-2006, 08:03 AM   #16
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If it is billed as a noncompetitive league, it should stay one and behave as one. The good athletes will move to competitive leagues and the less good athletes will learn some of the game and get some exercise.

I believe in competitive sports. I can even believe in ruthless competitive sports. But every kid should be able to participate in some sport just for fun. And apparently this league was billed that way. You want competition, move on to a competitive league.

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Old 08-12-2006, 08:23 AM   #17
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I believe in competitive sports, but not ruthless insofar as all morals and ethics are thrown out the window. I think you can have both-you can teach decency and compassion and other important life lessons along with competitiveness. And I believe you should and have to do that for kids. Otherwise you get the horror stories we all hear about kids and out of control parents in youth sports. Or even professional athletes who never progress as people beyond the kid stage, so to speak. They're all out of whack for reasons that can sometimes be traced back to their sports experiences as kids. Of course there are several other factors involved in that, including their parents. And the money, and all the other temptations and coddling and egomania, etc.

Once my neighbor was really yelling at his kid for the way he was hitting the baseball when they were out in the yard, presumably for fun. So he took the bat and ball and appeared to be demonstrating hittting the way he wanted him to do it. He proceeded to mishit the ball and break the garage window. Karma is a bitch. It made me smile.

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Old 08-12-2006, 01:29 PM   #18
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Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Possibly true, but what is it really doing to their psyches and how do we know that? What long term impact will it have on them, if parents and coaches don't protect them enough and if the sports are abused in that way?
The key is how the parent treats the situation with the child. No different than when a child falls down. If the parent reacts to the situation like something bad happened, the child learns to cry. If the parent looks at the child with a smile and say "Wow! You took a tumble! That was a surprise!" the child doesn't learn to cry (as in something bad happened TO them).

When the child is disqualified, you can use it as a teaching time, or as I time to blame something else. Kids learn from the parent response to the situation - not just from the situation itself.
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Old 08-12-2006, 02:00 PM   #19
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Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
For some reason, I find that to be a very funny word.
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Old 08-12-2006, 02:21 PM   #20
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Old 08-12-2006, 07:28 PM   #21
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Kids and competitive sports has always been a delicate mix, something you need to be careful about. I don't think they should have walked the star just to win. They should have let him hit.
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Old 08-12-2006, 11:06 PM   #22
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I just glanced over the "vision statement" as well as the rules and regulations for PONY League Baseball and, so far as I can tell, it's not an intrinsically noncompetitive program; rather, it seems to be a sort of semi-competitive setup where on the one hand, anyone who's capable of playing can join (and expect to bat--though not necessarily every rotation; that depends on age category, whether it's a title game or not, etc., per the rulebook); but on the other hand, "play is governed by the Official Rules of Major League Baseball," barring only "those exceptions deemed necessary for a youth baseball program." Meaning, among other things, that (as the article MrsS posted references) walking a star hitter so as to strategically capitalize on the next batter's weakness is perfectly legit, so far as it goes. And as a broad general principle, I'm inclined to agree with nb--experiencing firsthand the ups and downs of competition is part and parcel of what makes organized sports character-building; you're not doing kids any long-term favors by shielding them from the downs, any more than you would be by browbeating them with the kind of X-treme Soccer Mom-ist doctrine that suggests they have some kind of moral obligation to win and excel.

But as to this specific case, I guess for me it comes down to whether a child who's still physically able to play, but weakened in ways he *can't control* by brain cancer and radiotherapy, should be treated any differently than any other substandard player. I'm currently winding up several weeks' worth of radiation therapy for a brain tumor myself, I've done it several times before too, and while I don't, thank God, have cancer, I can vouch firsthand that radiotherapy causes your energy levels, your ability to focus, and your biochemical responses to stress to fluctuate wildly and uncontrollably. I've also volunteered several times at a local summer camp for kids with cancer, and would have to say that in my experience, you'd be hard-pressed to find a less coddled, lazy, and preferential-treatment-demanding group of people. I'm not saying anyone with such a condition deserves total kid-gloves treatment; they don't, and I think we've all experienced to some degree how a longterm illness can sometimes turn into an excuse for not even trying. Nonetheless, I think any kid who has the pluck to submit himself to the rigors of competition despite such formidable obstacles deserves an extra measure of considerateness in such a scenario--walking the star hitter to target the weak one is not an everyday strategy, it really does put exceptional psychological pressure on the weak hitter, and I don't think Romney Oaks would have felt (or been) infantilized had the coach decided not to exercise that option in his case. Aspiring to win and excel is important, and we shouldn't give kids an easy out on facing up to the shakedowns that entails...but with a kid who's this far from having had it "easy," I think showing a *little* extra sensitivity is the right thing to do, and sets a perfectly appropriate example for his teammates.

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