Yes it’s that time of the year. Time for Little League baseball, one of the 2 sports that 20 Prospect Jr. has decided to play, much to Mrs. 20 Prospect’s chagrin. Back in the day it was just accepted that all little boys played little league baseball. In fact, I think it was a pre-requisite for Middle School, as it allowed the bullies to identify the weak, which saved them countless hours figuring out who they could beat up for lunch money. Woe beith the 3rd grader that threw like a girl.
As I wrote about before, I spent last summer coaching 20 Prospect Jr.’s little league team. After the experience of coaching the Ritalin Rangers, I almost swore off coaching youth sports altogether. It has gotten so bad that a person needs a degree in Special Education to coach kids these days. But as you might guess, I have signed up for another go ‘round.
However, there is one key difference this year. I am not coaching in our local little league. Instead I am coaching 20 Prospect Jr.’s 5th Grade baseball team from Our Lady of the Subdural Hematoma. We may not be the richest, smartest, or most hoighty-toighty Catholic elementary school in town, but at least the private school is allowed to weed out the children with police rap sheets. With the public schools you never know what sort of up and coming serial killers you are going to end up with.
So we are now 2 weeks into practices, and I must say, it has been a world of difference from last summer. The kids are all capable of throwing and catching a ball, and focusing their attention for longer than 3 seconds at a time. Why, I might even go so far as to suggest that I am enjoying it. I might even start to think that we have a chance of winning some games, if I didn’t already have 2 years of experience coaching girls soccer in the Catholic Athletic Association. The cost of tuition at one St. Paul private school we played last fall was $23,000. I kid you not. At a school like that they have the full time, paid coaching staff from their High School giving instruction and development to the 5th graders.
I was reminded of this again last night at the coaches meeting. Gathered in a gym were the softball and baseball coaches of every school in the St. Paul CAA, receiving our schedules and instructions on the rules for the upcoming season. One coach asked about the rules for baseball bats this year. Did the new Little League bat regulations govern what types of bats the teams could use? Sitting in the bleachers I looked at my counterpart on the 5th grade girls softball team from OLSDH, and said “Bats? They get bats? We’re lucky that our school springs for a box of baseballs.”
But as always, hope springs eternal, and for the next week I will continue to live in my illusion of being competitive. After all, if I could lead the Ritalin Rangers to a 2-12 record last summer, there’s no telling what sort of miracles I can work with these boys.