We are up to our eyeballs in little league baseball right now. The older 3 boys are playing this year--Vincent is in T-ball, Joey is in single A, Zachary is in triple A. And if that isn't enough, Peter is coaching Joey and Vinnie.
Between practices and games, we have something almost every night, and frequently we have more than 1 event. They all have games on Saturdays, sometimes spread out, other times overlapping.
Between work and baseball, dinner time has completely fallen apart. The kids are living on PB & J and chicken nuggets. Yes, I know. That is probably not much different then their usual. But at least we used to eat together at the table! Now it is at the ball field or in the car. As crazy as it is, we really do love it.
It is a great family time for us, rooting the boys on.
With Zachary's move up to triple A though, we have also been introduced to the dark side of little league. The draft.
This is the year kids actually have to try out and get picked. I had no idea the politics involved in this. For 9-11 year old boys! The coaches watch all the boys try out, and then they somehow get chosen. There are clear cliques and groups of boys together. Zachary is the only kid from his school on his team, where other teams have many/mostly Graystone kids.
In and of itself, that is not the issue. He has met some nice kids and he likes them. The problem is, unfortunately we are not a great team. Or even a good team. There seems to be a huge discrepancy in the abilities of the teams, with some teams with only 1 loss and others with no wins or only 1. And that is the problem.
A friend of Zach's at school is on a team that is doing even worse than Zach's. Apparently there has been a lot of teasing/bullying going on at school around baseball with boys from the winning teams ganging up on boys (this boy in particular) from the losing teams. Zach has also been a bit of a target, although not as much as his friend. I find this heartbreaking as a mom. I want to go grab these boys and let them have it.
But I can't. Not only do we know most of these boys, but a number of them are actually patients of Peter's ( That is life when you practice in the community you live). I am having a hard time watching what is going on in our school. Is this really the norm?
I feel the way our little league does the draft really lends itself to this behavior and lopsided team ability. Pete mentioned that the draft when he was a kid was a blinded event. Kids were ranked, numbers were drawn out of a hat and the teams were made. You were more likely to get evenly matched teams. Teams would be more mixed and not gangs of boys from the same team together year after year.
Something needs to change. As a mother and as a pediatrician in the community, I feel an obligation to do something. I am going to start with the principal at our school. Let him in on behavior that is clearly against our schools peace builder pledge.
Then Pete and I will write the League President. We will outline the issues. Propose some changes. Maybe even start a petition.
Am I blowing this out of proportion? Is this just part of growing up and the boys have to toughen up and suck it up? That just doesn't sound OK to me.
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