Despite the Dodgers being 0-2, I am happy that baseball has returned. For one thing, it means hanging out at the park a few nights a week and watching some pretty talented kids just get better as the season goes on. For another it means being around people who are pretty excited about their own kids and how much they are learning in their final year or two in Little League.
It seems like every year we remark that we are pretty lucky in the coaches we’ve had since The Boy started baseball and we moved into town. The guys who dedicate their time to coaching kids don’t ever get enough credit, and the coaches we’ve had have been some of the best I have ever seen. This year is no exception. The Boy’s coach is just a genuinely nice guy who cares as much about teaching kids.
It’s something I can’t do. I tried it once and The Boy was tough for me to deal with. It wasn’t because I was any harder on him (that I’m aware of), but that when he’s out there trying to have fun, he doesn’t want his dad telling him what to do. I get that. The best coaches I had when I played were guys who didn’t have kids on the team. They treated everyone equally tough or equally easy, so there was no possibility for someone to feel like the coach’s kid was getting a better deal. I can understand how coaches’ kids feel. One kid I played with in high school had a dad who was always on his ass, and he flamed out. He was probably the best player I ever played with, but he resented his dad being around and always getting on him. The thing was – his dad wasn’t even one of those intense guys who yelled. He was just always there trying to coach quietly form the fence.
I could also never coach Little League because of what it takes to teach kids this age. I can’t separate the stuff they need to learn from the stuff I appreciate in big leaguers. I even had to ask the coach we had last year one time why he didn’t encourage things like working pitch counts and he told me that the kids just have to learn how to hit at this age. Plate discipline comes later. That’s tough for me to grasp, so I just have to sit and be quiet.
So, I have to simply give props to all the Little League coaches who do it right. Like I said, these guys don’t get enough credit, no matter how much they do get. They deserve more. And to the coaches we’ve had in our time, thanks a lot.