Saturday, May 15, 2010

Youth Baseball: One Game Suspension

Before baseball practice, the coach announced that some changes were going to be made. He has not been happy with the effort and the discipline. He announced that he was going to post a depth chart each week. The depth chart will show each kid's standing on the team. My son was named the starting catcher and the ninth batter in the order. He leads the team in career hits, but has been struggling this year so the ninth batting position did not come as a surprise.

The coach also announced a few other new rules and the associated consequences. He told the kids that cursing wouldn't be tolerated. The consequences for curing one time would result in a one game suspension. The second offense would result in a two game suspension. If the player violated the rule a third time, then a longer term solution may be enforced.

After the speech, the kids sprinted out to their positions for defensive drills. Nic played catcher for the first half and left field for the second half of practice. I noticed that he was extremely motivated. He loves a challenge, so this depth chart thing, in my opinion, is good.

After about 2 hours of defensive work, the kids did some conditioning running. The coach excused Nic from the running because he wanted to talk to him. I watched the conversation from afar. The coach had his hand on Nic's shoulder. Both were talking and both were nodding their heads. As I watched, I speculated that the coach was praising my son for an outstanding practice. I even wondered if my son was being named captain. Last season, the coach pulled Nic to the side during a practice to tell him that he was the captain of the team. The conversation ended and Nic joined the rest of the team in the conditioning. Nic's face did not give me any clues to the topic of the conversation.

After the practice, Nic gathered his things and was the first one to leave the field. He's always the last to leave the field, so this was highly unusual. He bolted by me and toward the car. I knew something was wrong, so I jogged up to Nic. Nic didn't want to talk until he got into the car. When we got into the car, Nic told me that he was suspended for cursing.

It had rained all week so Nic's team had to practice in the outfield. It was wet, but playable. The team was practicing rundown drills. Nic participated as a runner caught in a pickle. While he was eluding his teammates, he slipped and got soaking wet. As he was falling, he yelled out with a huge smile on his face, "Ah I slipped." The coach heard "ahhh shit."

I talked to my son. He stared me straight in the eye and told me that he didn't curse. I want to believe him and actually do even he has been curing occasionally since he has been playing Call of Duty Live with foul mouthed teenagers from all over the world.

The next morning, I called the coach. He said that he hated to give Nic a suspension because he knows that Nic is one of the hardest working players on the team. He also stated that he is trying to establish some discipline and he cannot do that if he does not enforce the rules. He claims that he thought he heard Nic curse and then corroborated it with another coach and two of Nic's teammates.

The Main Point

Rules are rules sometimes they are enforced justly and sometimes not. Like in baseball, sometimes the umpire is right and sometimes he is wrong, but it is his call. Nic will sit the next game out and hopefully learn from it.

Game 42 and 43

Nic and I drove 195 miles round trip to sit out and serve the one game suspension. He sat out the first game of a doubleheader in Indiana. I was proud of Nic, he could have moped around but he did not. He was the most vocal cheerleader in the dugout. I, on the other hand, was moping. He did start the second game at catcher and played well. He hit a double off the fence against a very tough lefty pitcher.

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