Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Little League Baseball and the dreams of our youth

So my Grantie Bear has made a tournament team. Very exciting. If they go all the way, they could be on ESPN. The coaches assure me that this probably will not happen. The other teams in our area have played together for four to five years and we have had one practice. In our township, this is new, so we are the babies of the league.

This opens up a whole new can of worms that I think we should all discuss. Tournament teams, travel teams, private coaching, all that jazz. Obviously, I am not against it, but where do you draw the line? My sister spent $5,000.00 one summer for her daughter to be on a travel softball team that "promised" scouts to be at the games. She was scouted at one of her high school games. They traveled, spent money on hotels and gas and stuff and at the end of the day, was not quite sure it was worth it.

How much money do you have to spend for your child to get a possible college scholarship in a sport? Do they really need private coaching? Is Little league enough to get them ready for school ball? Tyler played for a school for the first time this year. He learned a lot, and showed the coaches his heart for the game. I think that is key. Heart. Where is your kid's heart in all of this? Are we forcing our dreams onto our kids?

I see those beauty pageant moms with those dressed up, poofed up, fake teeth wearing little girls on the reality shows and want to cry. They are fake tanning, fake hairing, fake teeth wearing little girls with more make-up on than I wear in a week. And I wear make-up every day. Two thousand dollars for a dress they can only wear once? Strutting and shaking things that have yet to grow in? And in the end, every one of them has said they were tired and wanted to go home. The moms have the nerve to say it's for college money. Okay, take the two grand you just spent on costumes and stick that in a college fund. The poor child will make more for college that way than if you spend all that money carting her around to little state pageants. Yikes. Scary, scary stuff.

I try to be very careful to make sure my children want to do what they sign up for. Tatum would sign up for fifteen things a semester if she could. She has done dance, gymnastics, girlscouts and many other things. Nothing has stuck. And that's okay, if she finds something she loves, she will stick with it and I will support her. Tyler and Grant have played baseball for more years than I can count, and they love it. But if they came to me next year and said they did not want to play, that would be okay.

The things we enroll our children in are supposed to enhance their lives, not take over their lives. The tournament team tryouts were just that and Grant made it and we are proud of him. I hope they go far, but in reality, this being their first year, that probably will not happen.

Where do you draw the line in your house about extra curricular activities? Do your kids enjoy what they are doing? Let me know.

God bless you and yours.


apittman said...

Regarding scouts and private coaching expenses: bah humbug! Seriously, though, there are so many scholarships out there for kids who have heart and talent. Maybe not to Notre Dame, but smaller public schools are begging for players. My sis-in-law invested countless hours and dollars on a private pitching coach for my nephew. He was offered a walk-on spot with one college, but chose not to go there b/c his girlfriend was going somewhere else. He hasn't touched a baseball since. Unless the experts and coaches are seeking out your kid, I say invest time and love instead.
(sorry for the long comment!)

amiller said...

I could write a book on this subject! My son (now 26) was extremely talented in basketball. We did the traveling, etc from elementary to high school. The money we spent could have put both my boys through school! He got the full ride scholarship at a D-1 school, hated it after the first year and gave up the scholarship. He had to get a part-time job to afford to stay in school because he had such a bad experience with the coach he didn't want to go to a smaller school to play where he could have gotten another scholarship. He ended up transferring to a small school a semester before graduating because he decided to play again. He had the talent to play professionally but messed his back up lifting weights. We have good memories and bad ones through the experience, but I believe we put too much emphasis on basketball and not enough on the eternal things. All this to say it doesn't always turn out the way you hope even if your kid gets the scholarship! TRUST GOD and ask for His guidance!