Friday Firesmith – Little League Losers

Years ago, I attended a Little League Baseball game, the first I had gone to in a while, and I vowed to never go again. Watching kids play any sport can be entertaining, and it can even be fun when the kids are really into it. I knew one of the kids through his parents, and they asked me to show up, so I did.

The whole thing was an educational experience, to say the least.  There was an armed deputy at the game, and I was told there had to be one there at all times, and sometimes two, or three. That was mind blowing, that a baseball game between a group of little kids needed security, but it wasn’t the kids. It was the parents.

Before the first pitch was thrown, before the national anthem was sang by a trio of little girls, one of the spectators was escorted out by the deputy. He was the father of one of the players and had been banned from attending anymore of the games. He left with his kid after shouting obscenities at the umpire, and the deputy.

I had never seen anything like it. The adults in the crowd, the parents of the kids who were playing, screamed, hollered, mocked little children for the way they played, and acted as if the umpire was the spawn of Satan himself. No just one or two in the crowd, but more than the majority. It was the most embarrassing event I had ever been to in my life.

As if we needed more drama, a man started a fight behind the bleachers because his ex-girlfriend was there with another man. The stands emptied to watch the fracas, and the game was stopped for about a half hour. This fired the crowd up even more, and it was like being at the Coliseum in Rome, where people wanted a death match between eleven year olds.

I bailed out early, unable and unwilling to bear witness to the event, and never returned.

I was told later they began to have mandatory classes for the parents, the adults in the room, in regard to expected behavior, and started tossing out more and more of the more vocal offenders. My friends eventually pulled both their sons out of Little League, and I lost track as to whether things were better or worse.

These days, I cannot start to imagine how bad it is, and how much security they would have to have to have a group of angry parents each trying to out vocalize the person sitting next to them. I wonder what the children are learning from parents such as these, and I wonder what they will teach their children.

But the timing is just about right, the years passed would be just about what was needed that the kids who were there that day would have kids of their own right now and are the adults running the world right now.
Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

10 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Little League Losers”

  1. Are we in a decline of our civilization like Rome and their gradual change of the type of entertainment in the Colosseum? Is it just that with so many almost instant news sources competing for your attention that they have to constantly keep people on edge for clicks and viewers?

    • That’s a good point, Dan. When I was a kid it was all about the kids having fun and learning the game. Parents cheered any kid at bat, and applauded great plays of either side. Now it’s more divisive and ugly.

  2. I attended my first kids game in a long time the other day. It was a bunch of 4 year old boys playing soccer. Before the game my grandson’s coach delivered a great pep talk — it consisted of, “Does anyone know which goal is ours?” My grandson scored 6 goals — 5 for his team and one for the other team! We all cheered even when he scored for the other team.It was glorious!

    • John, every year we had all the kids on different teams and no one ever complained. It didn’t matter. Kids were kids, the game was for fun, and nobody ever got mad at the umpire. It’s a different world today. There is a lot more misplaced anger.

  3. It’s bad, worse even. I was just reading local news in my area, really across the whole state of Massachusetts, fights are becoming more and more common. So bad that police are arresting kids. To make it worse, a mother was arrested yesterday! A mother! They are moving the Friday night football games to a 4 pm start time.
    (As a mother I can’t imagine getting into a fistfight!, let alone infront of children !!)
    People blame the virus. I don’t. To me it’s lack of fathers and strong families, but what do I know?

  4. Years ago a friend stopped by and my neighbor wandered over. They both had sons in a local ice hockey league. My buddy asked about the neighbor kids injury. The neighbor went on and on about his son hurt his thumb but dad didn’t think it would hurt the boys “Sports Career”. The boy was 5 years old.

    Another time we went to a BBQ at the house of my wife’s boss. He explained how of his many sports trophies from his youth he had on display, he had given one of them to his son so the boy wouldn’t feel bad.

    If a child loses a game they should be taken from the bad mother and placed in an institution to be reoriented with a winning attitude for the glory of the state.

    And they wonder how/why I became a curmudgeon.

  5. My involvement with Little League (LL) came a few years back. My SO grandson was playing and she was invited to the game. The rules were all players played no matter what as it was first year LL. One young girl couldn’t bat at all and Mom was ignoring her and the players were making fun of her (the only girl). Worst of all the damn coach wasn’t giving her any tips. The SOs grandson asked if I would help her, so I gave some pointers, etc. Her next at bat as she went to the plate, and I told her to miss the first pitch. Of course she was confused and I said it’s ok, trust me. Second pitch I told Casey (her actual name) to do like I had instructed her on. The ball was pitched and I said swing. Casey hits the ball into center field. The shock and surprise was glorious. I told her to run. She got to second base and the opposing team, mostly boys, fumbled the ball and she made it to third. Then one of the boys got mad and threw the ball and hit her. She was allowed to score and the game was called because of sportsmanship on the opposing team. Casey and Paul’s (grandson) team won.

    Casey excitedly told her mom and the mom said: “That’s nice Dear” completely ignoring her daughter all the while she was on her phone. Paul is now 25, but I sometimes wonder what happened to Casey? If she has kids I hope she does better than her Mom did on that day because that little girl was heart broken over Mom ignoring her.

    I am a firm believer that you drop your kid off for LL and go to a gym or someplace and watch the game on CCTV. May not help the kid, but it will be a little less stressful for them.

  6. Bruce, I’ve lost more games of chess than I’ve won, but losing taught me more about winning than winning did. What works for you once might work again but it’s your own fault if you lose twice the same way. Team sports are different, but losing is still part of the game. Winning isn’t everything, and we shouldn’t teach kids to win at all costs.


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