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Take the Little League coaches test

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by devodian, Jan 27, 2007.

  1. devodian

    devodian New Member

    I'm a recent college grad who is hungry to improve. You may remember this story. About a month after I wrote this, Ricky Reilly called and put his story on it in SI. Things got a little crazy after that. Let me know your feelings. I have thick skin.

    By Ben De Voe

    If you’d like to coach 9- to 10-year- old Little League baseball next season you’ll have to submit to the following quiz

    Question: If your team is winning by one run in the bottom half of the championship game with the tying run on base, and the other team’s best hitter at the plate, with a surviving cancer victim on deck - do you -

    A) Challenge the hitter, because you’re trying to teach 9-year- olds how to overcome challenges and learn how to play baseball.

    B) Take a walk to the pitcher’s mound and advise that your hurler be very careful with the next hitter and that a walk wouldn’t be the end of the world.

    C) Scream across the diamond to intentionally walk the hitter because the cancer victim is too weak and frail to hit the ball. That way your team can get the easy win, and everyone will commend you for what a brilliant coach you are.

    If you chose C, not only are you not allowed to coach, but you will now be forced to wear a dunce cap and suffer the wrath of the firehouse we have set up out back.

    Unfortunately, the unbridled desire to win and live vicariously through kids playing games reared its ugly head in the 9- to 10 -year-old little league championship game at Mueller Park Friday night.

    This story is a microcosm of the way our society places victory above all else, regardless of who gets hurt along the way.

    It seems fitting that the two constituents would be the Red Sox and Yankees. Someone’s trying to teach us all a lesson.

    The Yankees were the only undefeated team in the league, and had worked their tails off during the season. They were one out away from capping off a great year, and their coaches made a big mistake, openly pitching around the Sox’ best hitter to exploit the weaker Romney Oaks, who struck out to end the game. We’ll get to the Yanks coaches, but first we’ll take a look at Oaks.

    Romney Oaks still believes he’s going to play in NBA, even though treatment for a malignant tumor doctors found on his head at the age of four stunted his growth and left him with a shunt in his head prohibiting him from playing contact sports.

    While most children who have been through similar procedures have lost their gross motor skills, Romney can not only walk, but can run and play at a level comparable to his peers.

    Over the past four years of chemotherapy, and radiation, while living in two different states, Romney has never been openly picked on by his peers. That’s because kids wouldn’t do that to each other. They know better. Too bad the same can’t be said of their parents.

    “I defy anyone to say they wouldn’t have done the same thing,” says Yankees coach Bob Farley, who took the instruction of assistant coach Shaun Farr to intentionally walk a player to get to Oaks.

    I defy Farley to come back to the real world, where winning a 9-year-old baseball tournament where most of the kids are more concerned with what treats they’ll have after the game isn’t life and death.

    Air Heads might have been an appropriate treat by the way.

    The incident left a bad taste in the mouth of many who were involved in a great season at Mueller Park.

    Farley claims that he didn’t know anything was wrong with Oaks. Guess it was hard for him to notice the protective helmet Oaks wears in centerfield and that his swing looks more like a drag bunt. Farr can’t even claim that as an alibi. Not only does he know Oaks, he was his basketball coach in the fall.

    Boy, it’s a good thing those Yankees had some advanced scouting so that they would know how to exploit the other kiddies’ weaknesses.

    While Farley and Farr put in countless hours helping their kids develop this season, in one heated moment they were swept up in their own ambition and lost sight of what is truly important — that we teach our children proper principles.

    Intentional walks are part of the game, yes, but was it right to magnify the weakness of one struggling youngster so that you could win a recreation little league? If you follow these men’s attitude of win at all costs, I guess it is.

    What makes me sick is that there are apologists for these men’s actions. It’s a sad day if we as a community have become conditioned to the point where we’d rather win than teach our kids integrity and to lend a helping hand to those who are less fortunate.

    Hopefully these coaches enjoy the trophy on their mantle, right next to their dunce caps.
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