‘Baseball Without the Little League’ (2018)

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I grew up in a time when most kids played what they wanted to play and didn’t require full-time adult supervision–to say nothing of scoreboards, uniforms, sponsors, etc., etc.

Baseball Without the Little League

I think one of the wisest things my parents ever did was not to let me join the Little League. They said I’d hate it: the coach’s favorites play while everybody else just sits on the bench.

So much nicer to play with patchwork rules (hit the ball past the swing set, it’s a home run) and only four or five kids on a team. You get up to bat 50 or 100 times instead of not at all, you play as many innings as you please, and you don’t have to waste time undermining your teammates.

But then who sees free-range kids playing outside anymore?

6 comments on “‘Baseball Without the Little League’ (2018)

  1. It is no longer safe to allow your kids to go anywhere without careful adult supervision. Nothing like when I was a kid. I walked several blocks to the skating rink in the evening, over to my friend’s house across town, all over, and no problem. I wouldn’t allow it now.

  2. While I see a degree of good in team sports, I see much potential for trouble. As you pointed out in the original post, the political aspects can outweigh the sport, itself.

    It may be the character of our fallen state, but we seem to allow political one-upmanship to outweigh the substance of almost any activity. Frazier vs. Ali was called the Fight of the Century, but get two young, but capable, guitarists in the same band and they make Frazier vs. Ali look like a square dance. It becomes a competition and neither party will give any ground. The joy of music is lost to the competitive aspects. In many cases, people outgrow this, but I’ve seen lifelong feuds.

    The problem with Little League is that it’s easy for the parties in authority to abuse their position. Batting order, positions played, etc. are politicized in some cases, because of.a win at all costs attitude. I understand that teamwork is a learning opportunity, but the less skilled players are not going to learn much by being benched. The most valuable lessons in my life grew out of failure, not immediate success. Learning to succeed usually requires more than a little failure, along the way. Ultimately, the family is the best matrix for development.

    1. One day three of us were playing on the high school football field when the Pop Warner team told us to get lost. So we took their football and played keep-away from the whole team. They couldn’t get the ball back until we’d had our fun.

      For all their coaching, they weren’t as good at football as three kids who played it all the time.

  3. As a baby boomer growing up there were kids everywhere, especially at the school grounds in the summer playing sports on their own – they are some of my best memories. Today, I don’t see kids playing outside much – maybe a stray bicycler or a couple of kids shooting baskets in the driveway. Where have all the children gone?

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