Oh for Christ's Sake.....People complaining about the rights and wrongs of end of season trophies

reggiecleveland

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I like all the little kids get a trophy better than picking awards at the end of a high school season. My school gives out athlete of the year and I stopped participating. These awards just lead to hurt feelings. If the MVP is obvious no award needed, if it isn't then there the season ends on a bad note.
 

Archer1979

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Agree to disagree, but I also think that travel baseball has gone from being a great motivator for kids to being one of the worst things to happen to the fabric of American Society (totally seriously), so YMMV.
You may be right on this. Our town is somewhat small so travel teams don't really play into it. For the most part, our tournament teams really had no cuts since so few would commit to the summer schedule.

Is your experience that it creates a separate class of student athletes too early in the process? If so, I could see this being an unintended (or maybe intended) consequence.

Full disclosure in this in that I tried to create a travel team for soccer but I insisted that it would be unanimous participation as it was going to be either a travel team (which much better competition) or part of the local league (in which we never lost a game for four years straight). Couldn't get it started since it was pretty much a 50/50 split whose numbers would have been too small for two teams but too many for one. There were a lot of halftime instructions that you could only kick it with your left foot (or had to pass five times before trying to score)... basically trying to get the kids to work on skills other than scoring.
 

AlNipper49

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I agree with travel ball. The pain in the ass factor is there but what is really the incentive? You wake up at 5am on Saturdays to go play teams you'll never see again in the hopes of winning a $2 ring? It's complete shit.

We play travel ball. The team was very hand picked. It has an amazing coach who is in it to build character for the kids. That's it. He wants to win, of course, but never has he for a microsecond prioritized winning over making the kids better people. It's not for everyone but it works for us.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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Is your experience that it creates a separate class of student athletes too early in the process? If so, I could see this being an unintended (or maybe intended) consequence.
No, I feel that it creates meaningful division within communities, and that is literally ripping apart America.

I guess I should explain.

If you look at baseball travel teams today, the vast bulk have immensely high fees, and a number of the kids who play in them are getting supplemental coaching outside that is frequently expensive. The travel team I played on as a kid had a 6-7 game season where we basically played the adjoining towns. Now, you travel to a different state to play in a tournament at a site that has 16 diamonds, a hotel on site, restaurants, etc. It is a $750 weekend for most families, and you are playing in 3-7 of these each season. In addition, travel seasons now run at the same time as rec. So most kids play one or the other.

Inherently, this closes the door on a lot of good athletes whose parents either don't have the money or the time to give. Needless to say, if you go to the average travel team tournament, most of the kids are white, and the parents are generally - at minimum - moderately affluent.

And here is where shit breaks down. Because of that overlap in seasons, and because of the perception of prestige, good-but-not-yet-great athletes end up not playing baseball. And while this is bad for baseball, it is even worse for society. It is hard as shit to meet other adults in a social setting. Adults meet each other and get out of their echo chamber through work, but mainly through their kids' activities (also, swinging sites, but let's table that. We get it cheekydave, you get weird). And for better or for worse, you learn about people, expand your horizons and get reasonable insights while sitting on the sidelines in a stupid folding chair while drinking something you wish was alcohol.

Rec baseball (and softball) was a pillar of communities. I believe this with all my heart. By eroding and creating a class gap that removed a ton of white folks from rec baseball, travel ball has helped take a divide that has always been there in American society and increased it a thousand fold. We bowl alone, but we also now sit on the sidelines in spring and summer only with people who live in our own echo chamber. It's fucking horrible.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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Everyone MATTERS on a team and should be valued, but not everyone is EQUAL. It's important to recognize everyone, but it's also important to recognize and highlight excellence.
As an Offensive Line coach, and an offensive person in general, I would have to say that this is the most idiotic horseshit I have ever read. Wait. your email on Deflategate was dumber. Still though.
 

Archer1979

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No, I feel that it creates meaningful division within communities, and that is literally ripping apart America.

I guess I should explain.

If you look at baseball travel teams today, the vast bulk have immensely high fees, and a number of the kids who play in them are getting supplemental coaching outside that is frequently expensive. The travel team I played on as a kid had a 6-7 game season where we basically played the adjoining towns. Now, you travel to a different state to play in a tournament at a site that has 16 diamonds, a hotel on site, restaurants, etc. It is a $750 weekend for most families, and you are playing in 3-7 of these each season. In addition, travel seasons now run at the same time as rec. So most kids play one or the other.

Inherently, this closes the door on a lot of good athletes whose parents either don't have the money or the time to give. Needless to say, if you go to the average travel team tournament, most of the kids are white, and the parents are generally - at minimum - moderately affluent.

And here is where shit breaks down. Because of that overlap in seasons, and because of the perception of prestige, good-but-not-yet-great athletes end up not playing baseball. And while this is bad for baseball, it is even worse for society. It is hard as shit to meet other adults in a social setting. Adults meet each other and get out of their echo chamber through work, but mainly through their kids' activities (also, swinging sites, but let's table that. We get it cheekydave, you get weird). And for better or for worse, you learn about people, expand your horizons and get reasonable insights while sitting on the sidelines in a stupid folding chair while drinking something you wish was alcohol.

Rec baseball (and softball) was a pillar of communities. I believe this with all my heart. By eroding and creating a class gap that removed a ton of white folks from rec baseball, travel ball has helped take a divide that has always been there in American society and increased it a thousand fold. We bowl alone, but we also now sit on the sidelines in spring and summer only with people who live in our own echo chamber. It's fucking horrible.
Ok. That makes sense. We could have had this problem with our tournament teams as it generally required us to travel to Central MA for a weekend. We got around that by subsidizing those that couldn't afford it. This is where the league as a whole came in as dues were required (unless you were a family in need and the fee was waived). We would also host tournaments as well as other things throughout the year and had league-merchandise that we would sell along with concessions. Made a lot of cash with those that we would use to get equipment and use for subsidizing the families in need. Baseball was by far the town's most popular (and expensive) sport so we did what we could to help.
 

LeoCarrillo

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Is the argument against participation trophies that we should reward the losers less, but not do anything about the excessive fellating of star athletes?
This is so utterly and completely and totally through the bullseye.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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Ok. That makes sense. We could have had this problem with our tournament teams as it generally required us to travel to Central MA for a weekend. We got around that by subsidizing those that couldn't afford it. This is where the league as a whole came in as dues were required (unless you were a family in need and the fee was waived). We would also host tournaments as well as other things throughout the year and had league-merchandise that we would sell along with concessions. Made a lot of cash with those that we would use to get equipment and use for subsidizing the families in need. Baseball was by far the town's most popular (and expensive) sport so we did what we could to help.
See, I think that the way you are approaching it is bang on. Unfortunately, in much of NJ at least, we don't see that type of approach. Kids in dire need will get help, but for a lot of kids even though it won't prevent their parents from putting food on the table per se, they don't have the ability to pay that money comfortably and then sacrifice the time to go out of town 3-4 times a year and spend the night. Youth rec baseball (and softball) is dying in multiple towns in NJ but travel ball is exploding. Many of the rec diamonds that used to look immaculate look decrepit, and the high dollar pay-to-play places look so good Mo Vaughn would consider taking a date there. It stinks.
 

Archer1979

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See, I think that the way you are approaching it is bang on. Unfortunately, in much of NJ at least, we don't see that type of approach. Kids in dire need will get help, but for a lot of kids even though it won't prevent their parents from putting food on the table per se, they don't have the ability to pay that money comfortably and then sacrifice the time to go out of town 3-4 times a year and spend the night. Youth rec baseball (and softball) is dying in multiple towns in NJ but travel ball is exploding. Many of the rec diamonds that used to look immaculate look decrepit, and the high dollar pay-to-play places look so good Mo Vaughn would consider taking a date there. It stinks.
It’s one of the advantages of living in a small town. All the players are needed or there is no tournament team. No town team for the tournament means that the players have to catch onto another towns team, which then means that the parents that would have been coaches are just parents again…. Which simply can’t happen.
 
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AlNipper49

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See we have all 3. There is rec / little league. To get into a tourney team you need to play rec.

Travel is broken up into three buckets
- kids who like playing baseball and want to play more - 20%
- kids who are really good and need to play around kids as good as they - 10%
- kids whose parents think travel ball is like an all star team - 70%
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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See we have all 3. There is rec / little league. To get into a tourney team you need to play rec.

Travel is broken up into three buckets
- kids who like playing baseball and want to play more - 20%
- kids who are really good and need to play around kids as good as they - 10%
- kids whose parents think travel ball is like an all star team - 70%
This is how travel ball should be.
 

MB's Hidden Ball

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I don’t have any of the participation-type trophies from my childhood, but I sure as shit remember them and how I felt when I received them.
Yeah, this. I was an absolutely terrible baseball player but I loved my trophies. They made me feel that despite my obvious athletic inadequacy I was still a valuable part of the team.

Somehow I survived into adulthood despite being the recipient of a “participation” trophy. Those trophy-opponents can get fucked.

*we also got Papa Gino’s.
 

DJnVa

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Inherently, this closes the door on a lot of good athletes whose parents either don't have the money or the time to give. Needless to say, if you go to the average travel team tournament, most of the kids are white, and the parents are generally - at minimum - moderately affluent.
You're essentially describing the pay to play issues that US soccer deals with. The kids on the top teams are the kids that are good, and can afford it, or, aren't that good, but can still afford it.
 

Just a bit outside

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You're essentially describing the pay to play issues that US soccer deals with. The kids on the top teams are the kids that are good, and can afford it, or, aren't that good, but can still afford it.
Couldn’t the same be said for almost every sport. Baseball, soccer, hockey, tennis, golf, gymnastics, etc… are all sports that are headed more and more to the wealthy. I don’t know about youth football but I would guess it is still an issue, although smaller, with all the private coaching.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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Couldn’t the same be said for almost every sport. Baseball, soccer, hockey, tennis, golf, gymnastics, etc… are all sports that are headed more and more to the wealthy. I don’t know about youth football but I would guess it is still an issue, although smaller, with all the private coaching.
Right now youth football hasn't been hit too hard with the private coaching bug. At the HS level though, you are starting to see more and more of this. One of the things that mitigates this issue is the open door policy that many college coaches have for coaches at any level in their state to come to their practices, and also the relatively low cost camps around the state these coaches and their staffs run in order to get good connections within the state for recruiting.
 

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Right now youth football hasn't been hit too hard with the private coaching bug. At the HS level though, you are starting to see more and more of this. One of the things that mitigates this issue is the open door policy that many college coaches have for coaches at any level in their state to come to their practices, and also the relatively low cost camps around the state these coaches and their staffs run in order to get good connections within the state for recruiting.
Private coaching is a strange phenomena. A friend of mine's son loved baseball and couldn't wait to be on a team. The first season (I think he was eight) went fine, but as the second season went along he found that he wasn't playing as much. Turns out just about every kid on his team had private coaches (at age nine) and they were getting better and my friend's son (who didn't have a coach) was left sitting on his hands. He decided that he hated baseball after that and never returned.

The kid wasn't bad a little player, but the point is this sort of hyper competitiveness between parents have unknown ramifications on others. This kid loved baseball, now he doesn't. What sucks is that parents feel like they have to make sure that junior is the "best in the league" for an inter-town Little League. I can sorta get it if this is a travel team, but the whole youth sports industrial complex just fucking sucks. The amount of normally intelligent people being scammed out of thousands and thousands of dollars by people who promise that they can take their kid to "the next level" is legion. And all of the parents say something similar like a mantra, "If I spend the money now on coaching, my kid will be able to get a college scholarship later and I'll save then."

These private coaching grifters are lucky that most people don't understand the math in order for their mantra to be true.
 

LeoCarrillo

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What’s the point of youth sports in 2023 again, then? All the lessons.

Cardiovascular activity, a bit of physical toughness, a bit of mental toughness in getting back out there after a loss, a bit of dedication and a pinch of learning to play as a member of a unit for the greater good.

That’s all well and good. But it seems like the average mediocre athlete kid is basically crowded out by the camps-n-private-coaches industrial complex by like age 10. Or play and pass it every time to the scholarship-or-bust kid. Seems pretty corroded.
 

Red Right Ankle

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What’s the point of youth sports in 2023 again, then? All the lessons.

Cardiovascular activity, a bit of physical toughness, a bit of mental toughness in getting back out there after a loss, a bit of dedication and a pinch of learning to play as a member of a unit for the greater good.

That’s all well and good. But it seems like the average mediocre athlete kid is basically crowded out by the camps-n-private-coaches industrial complex by like age 10. Or play and pass it every time to the scholarship-or-bust kid. Seems pretty corroded.
Like everything, it's to bilk as much money out of the suckers as possible.
 

LeoCarrillo

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Like everything, it's to bilk as much money out of the suckers as possible.
Yeah. I’m not anti-sports. Or pro-milquetoast. Just feels like we used to get to be so-so and still have fun till about age 14-15 in olden times. Now your kid is 8 and getting yapped at by some teammate in a headband who went to Landon Donovan Summer Camp.
 

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For the record, we had the meeting with the parents who were concerned on this issue and it ended with "Your concern is noted. Now go away because we are going to start talking about people who will actually be doing work for the program and you have never shown much desire for that." basically.
 

moretsyndrome

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Yeah. I’m not anti-sports. Or pro-milquetoast. Just feels like we used to get to be so-so and still have fun till about age 14-15 in olden times. Now your kid is 8 and getting yapped at by some teammate in a headband who went to Landon Donovan Summer Camp.
This could be its own thread, or more likely I should probably just have a direct talk with my wife about this, but I'm right on the edge of a reckoning about how far we should take things with MiniMoret, who'll be 13 soon. He is a very good basketball player. He is not great. He struggles with players of greater speed/size/strength at both ends. In our small Catholic school league, he can take games over, but is a 5th/6th man on his AAU team. I'd project him to be able to play varsity at the HS level in public school, but he's probably too limited right now to plan on playing at one of the RI recruitment-level private schools (Hendricken, LaSalle, etc.)

Just last night, we got a text from the AAU coach, whom we all like, about extra one-on-one training this summer. I don't know if this is because of some untapped potential that I can't see, or because the coach notices the cars pulling in and out and how people are dressed after work at practice and figures we're among the higher-income parents out there. MiniMoret is very coachable, so I'm not surprised by this. I'm also not surprised that my wife, who barely played any sports or knew anything about hoops until about 2017, is not even hesitating about plowing ahead.

I'm hesitating, and not just because of the money. The bolded is a big part of it. It's gotten ridiculous. Baseball, which is probably the only sport that I could really help with, never really got off the ground despite him being a decent player because Little League is beginning to feel obsolete and we can't go "all-in" with AAU and travel with multiple sports.

Despite my mediocrity, I still have great memories from Little League and wish that he could have had something similar to these experiences. AAU isn't like that, at all. Being stuck in some faceless suburban competition factory filled with desperate parents in ill-fitting athleisurewear who are abusing the officials is nothing like when I was manning 1st base in a t-shirt and jeans at Willow Field, cheering on my best friend while he tried to pitch us to a win. Christ, our coach was even fucked-up half the time, just like Matthau in Bad News Bears. It was glorious.

I'm angry at myself, because it's not as if I couldn't see it coming. It's just so easy for it to spin out of control. In order for him to get past this level, he probably needs to go full gym rat, which I don't think is his nature, and I'm not sure I want it to be his nature. There's so much else to enjoy at his age and, as we all know too well, it goes really fucking fast.
 

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My LL coach smoked like a chimney in the dugout, on the field, wherever. Still stands as one of the best coaches I ever had in any sport. He's also the only coach I ever had who had no kids in the program. They had all aged out years prior to when I had him as my manager.
 

Zedia

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My LL coach smoked like a chimney in the dugout, on the field, wherever. Still stands as one of the best coaches I ever had in any sport. He's also the only coach I ever had who had no kids in the program. They had all aged out years prior to when I had him as my manager.
I wonder if we had the same coach. Our “steal” sign was him placing his hand over his heart. We said, “What if you’re having a heart attack?” Wiseass kids.
 

troparra

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What’s the point of youth sports in 2023 again, then? All the lessons.

Cardiovascular activity, a bit of physical toughness, a bit of mental toughness in getting back out there after a loss, a bit of dedication and a pinch of learning to play as a member of a unit for the greater good.

That’s all well and good. But it seems like the average mediocre athlete kid is basically crowded out by the camps-n-private-coaches industrial complex by like age 10. Or play and pass it every time to the scholarship-or-bust kid. Seems pretty corroded.
When my son was in 6th grade, the newly hired HS basketball coach in our district announced the creation of a new youth program for basketball. I went to the parent meeting about it, and the plan was to have two 10-player travel teams per grade, coached by varsity and JV assistants. They were going to hold a 3 day tryout, and they wanted every player to show up, even if they didn't think they'd make the team.
My son he only started playing the previous year so he was in the probably-not-gonna-make-the-team group.

Anyway, something like 50-60 kids tried out for the 6th grade teams. The top 10 made the A team, the next 10 made the B team, everybody else could participate in the "summer skills camps".

Seemed fine to me, until I found out the A team was practicing 4 days a week and were scheduled to play over 40 games that year, and the B team also practicing 4 days a week, but only had like 30 or so games, while the Summer Skills Camps amounted to three 2-hour Saturday practices with like 80 kids at a time.
At the first summer skills camp I texted my wife, "I think our son's basketball career is over."
 

joe dokes

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This could be its own thread, or more likely I should probably just have a direct talk with my wife about this, but I'm right on the edge of a reckoning about how far we should take things with MiniMoret, who'll be 13 soon. He is a very good basketball player. He is not great. He struggles with players of greater speed/size/strength at both ends. In our small Catholic school league, he can take games over, but is a 5th/6th man on his AAU team. I'd project him to be able to play varsity at the HS level in public school, but he's probably too limited right now to plan on playing at one of the RI recruitment-level private schools (Hendricken, LaSalle, etc.)

Just last night, we got a text from the AAU coach, whom we all like, about extra one-on-one training this summer. I don't know if this is because of some untapped potential that I can't see, or because the coach notices the cars pulling in and out and how people are dressed after work at practice and figures we're among the higher-income parents out there. MiniMoret is very coachable, so I'm not surprised by this. I'm also not surprised that my wife, who barely played any sports or knew anything about hoops until about 2017, is not even hesitating about plowing ahead.



I'm angry at myself, because it's not as if I couldn't see it coming. It's just so easy for it to spin out of control. In order for him to get past this level, he probably needs to go full gym rat, which I don't think is his nature, and I'm not sure I want it to be his nature. There's so much else to enjoy at his age and, as we all know too well, it goes really fucking fast.
What does your son think? Kids often have a pretty good radar about this stuff. Maybe you do it for one summer and see where it goes (both for his skills and to help inform his opinion)? One of my daughters was a pretty good HS field hockey player. (3.5 yrs of varsity; a few D3 inquiries). At some point after her sophomore HS season she just no longer wanted to play in all of the "sessions" that the coaches at the local sports-improvement factory kept "inviting" her to. She saw up close that the dozen or so girls with potential D1 potential got training and opportunities that she didn't, and even though she was pretty sure she'd nevertheless improve as a player, it just wasn't worth her time to essentially play year-round.

Of course you could "see it coming." But the only way to avoid it is to have not let him play at all, which is also not the right answer. Your awareness of the situation probably has you lapping the field of your parental comparators.
 

jmcc5400

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I wonder if we had the same coach. Our “steal” sign was him placing his hand over his heart. We said, “What if you’re having a heart attack?” Wiseass kids.
This could be its own thread. Our bunt sigh in little league was our coach yelling to us, "come on, get a little hit!" when we were up at the plate.
 

moretsyndrome

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What does your son think? Kids often have a pretty good radar about this stuff. Maybe you do it for one summer and see where it goes (both for his skills and to help inform his opinion)? One of my daughters was a pretty good HS field hockey player. (3.5 yrs of varsity; a few D3 inquiries). At some point after her sophomore HS season she just no longer wanted to play in all of the "sessions" that the coaches at the local sports-improvement factory kept "inviting" her to. She saw up close that the dozen or so girls with potential D1 potential got training and opportunities that she didn't, and even though she was pretty sure she'd nevertheless improve as a player, it just wasn't worth her time to essentially play year-round.

Of course you could "see it coming." But the only way to avoid it is to have not let him play at all, which is also not the right answer. Your awareness of the situation probably has you lapping the field of your parental comparators.
Thanks. The one thing I want to make sure of before taking this step is that his motivation is to improve. I'm concerned that we he will agree to this solely due to pressure from my wife. He's pretty level-headed and just likes to play as much as possible. It could actually work as a guide to see where he goes with this. The coach is tough and it will definitely be more work than play.
 

uncannymanny

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For the record, we had the meeting with the parents who were concerned on this issue and it ended with "Your concern is noted. Now go away because we are going to start talking about people who will actually be doing work for the program and you have never shown much desire for that." basically.
Nicely played, and not even all that offensive!
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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What’s the point of youth sports in 2023 again, then? All the lessons.

Cardiovascular activity, a bit of physical toughness, a bit of mental toughness in getting back out there after a loss, a bit of dedication and a pinch of learning to play as a member of a unit for the greater good.

That’s all well and good. But it seems like the average mediocre athlete kid is basically crowded out by the camps-n-private-coaches industrial complex by like age 10. Or play and pass it every time to the scholarship-or-bust kid. Seems pretty corroded.
It's for sure getting that way. And it hurts not just the mediocre kids, but the stars, too. Now that one of my kids is in college and another in high school, it's amazing how many "star" athletes are super mediocre and having serious mental health issues because of it as they get to be juniors and seniors in high school. So many of them grew and matured quickly, were the best players in classic 10-12 Little League, then made it to the big diamond, stopped growing at 5'7", maxed out their fastball at 55, and are now suffering serious identity crises in high school because, whoops, you're not actually that good anymore.

Meanwhile, a few of those mediocre kids that "sucked" are still growing, now are like 6 feet tall, and kept practicing, kept grinding, and are stealing their innings.

But there are SO MANY kids that "sucked" that never got the chance to be good because they never got to play, were told they might as well quit if they didn't want to pay $1500 a season for travel ball, and are now fucking around playing video games instead of filling out the baseball program. I see them walk by when I'm picking my kid up and think, damn, what happened to that kid?

Rec leagues, middle school teams, etc. — anything developmental — should be counting their success by one metric: What percent of kids returned for another year? That should be all that matters, keeping them developing their skills and enjoying the game until they really know what their potential is, which you really can't know with some kids for a long time.
 

jose melendez

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The biggest disappointment of my childhood was that I never got to play little league baseball. The one year I went out was 1987, and I was in fifth grade. All of the kids who played in fourth grade got in automatically, and for some reason there were only like 30 spots for 70ish new kids going out in the excitement after the Sox playoff run. I didn't make it, and I've always thought it was sort of shitty to do that to kids. I'm pretty sure I would have hated standing in right field for three innings and DHing the rest, but I also never learned the fundamental--footwork etc. It really sucks to not give kids a chance to play.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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The biggest disappointment of my childhood was that I never got to play little league baseball. The one year I went out was 1987, and I was in fifth grade. All of the kids who played in fourth grade got in automatically, and for some reason there were only like 30 spots for 70ish new kids going out in the excitement after the Sox playoff run. I didn't make it, and I've always thought it was sort of shitty to do that to kids. I'm pretty sure I would have hated standing in right field for three innings and DHing the rest, but I also never learned the fundamental--footwork etc. It really sucks to not give kids a chance to play.
This is a failure and I am sorry. IMO, non-travel/club youth sports should be about learning the sport, developing skills and having fun.

Our LL rosters anyone who signs up on time and doesn't allow for super or travel teams (we redraft and redistribute the top players each season). This drives away some of the best players and lowers the overall quality of play however the net effect is that a latecomer to the sport can still start playing after the ripe old age of 10 or 11 and every kid coming through our system has a shot at a good season to start.

Reading your post and the thread in general simply reinforces my view that our league is doing it right.

These local youth leagues aren't there to build kids into the superstars they are 100% destined to become. IMO, they are there to build fans and if kids/families are walking away unhappy because they are catering to the very small minority of good players (who may not be good enough at the next level) that's a terrible outcome.

As a coach or administrator, the main goal should be to generate good will towards the sport - not the next set of superstars for the next level. If handing out participation trophies or anything else engenders good times, keep doing it.

Finally, travel ball can be a lot of fun but the criticisms here and beyond are all on point. On balance it may be doing more harm than good for a variety of reasons (including the fact that the vast majority of these kids are spending and not investing their families' hard earned money - most will fall out of the sport within a few years).
 

jose melendez

Earl of Acie
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Oct 23, 2003
30,106
Geneva, Switzerland
This is a failure and I am sorry. IMO, non-travel/club youth sports should be about learning the sport, developing skills and having fun.

Our LL rosters anyone who signs up on time and doesn't allow for super or travel teams (we redraft and redistribute the top players each season). This drives away some of the best players and lowers the overall quality of play however the net effect is that a latecomer to the sport can still start playing after the ripe old age of 10 or 11 and every kid coming through our system has a shot at a good season to start.

Reading your post and the thread in general simply reinforces my view that our league is doing it right.

These local youth leagues aren't there to build kids into the superstars they are 100% destined to become. IMO, they are there to build fans and if kids/families are walking away unhappy because they are catering to the very small minority of good players (who may not be good enough at the next level) that's a terrible outcome.

As a coach or administrator, the main goal should be to generate good will towards the sport - not the next set of superstars for the next level. If handing out participation trophies or anything else engenders good times, keep doing it.

Finally, travel ball can be a lot of fun but the criticisms here and beyond are all on point. On balance it may be doing more harm than good for a variety of reasons (including the fact that the vast majority of these kids are spending and not investing their families' hard earned money - most will fall out of the sport within a few years).
I assume the fact that I didn't make it led me to take it out on Cesar Crespo all those years later.
 

Bongorific

Thinks he’s clever
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Jul 16, 2005
8,307
Balboa Towers
I handed out trophies last night to our rec 7-8 year old softball team. It had their name on it. They were freakin thrilled. One girl told my daughter at school last week she was counting down the days to the pizza party and trophy night. Another girl told me while setting up last night she was so excited because she never got a trophy in her life.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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I handed out trophies last night to our rec 7-8 year old softball team. It had their name on it. They were freakin thrilled. One girl told my daughter at school last week she was counting down the days to the pizza party and trophy night. Another girl told me while setting up last night she was so excited because she never got a trophy in her life.
I think I have said this elsewhere in this forum, but my grandfather's line was "I stayed coaching O-line for 50 years because 15 year old kids' faces still light up when you tell them that they did a great job in a drill. That may be the only encouraging thing they hear all week, there are a lot of assholes out there who take too much joy in telling them all the ways they fall short."
 

Bongorific

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Jul 16, 2005
8,307
Balboa Towers
I think I have said this elsewhere in this forum, but my grandfather's line was "I stayed coaching O-line for 50 years because 15 year old kids' faces still light up when you tell them that they did a great job in a drill. That may be the only encouraging thing they hear all week, there are a lot of assholes out there who take too much joy in telling them all the ways they fall short."
That’s a great story.

I gave out two “hustle” awards after every game; a box of sour patch kids. The kids didn’t really pick up on the fact that they all won the award twice during the year because I would give one line in front of the team about why the winner was getting it. A few of the girls gave me thank you cards last night and they all drew pictures of the sour patch kids boxes. It cost me like 20 bucks in candy to make 12 kids feel proud of themselves.
 

LeoCarrillo

Do his bits at your peril
SoSH Member
Oct 13, 2008
9,920
I think I have said this elsewhere in this forum, but my grandfather's line was "I stayed coaching O-line for 50 years because 15 year old kids' faces still light up when you tell them that they did a great job in a drill. That may be the only encouraging thing they hear all week, there are a lot of assholes out there who take too much joy in telling them all the ways they fall short."
O-line is basically fat-kid camp with the occasional fumble drill. Been there, done that, dreamed of getting to play tight end.

Good on your grandfather.

PS, can you still chop block? [Edit: Guess it’s called “cut block” now] That was fun, when fools would fall over you onto their facemasks in the mud.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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O-line is basically fat-kid camp with the occasional fumble drill. Been there, done that, dreamed of getting to play tight end.

Good on your grandfather.

PS, can you still chop block? [Edit: Guess it’s called “cut block” now] That was fun, when fools would fall over you onto their facemasks in the mud.
I tell people - somewhat truthfully - that between my O-and-D line coaching and heavyweight wrestling coaching- it's pretty good odds that any fat kid that lives within 10 miles of me has gotten at least some coaching from me. They are the butt of all the jokes until puberty hits and suddenly every smartass needs a big friend to protect them or get them the three yards over the goal line.
 

LoweTek

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May 30, 2005
2,160
Central Florida
I just finished a 15U (Juniors) season with a league I had not not coached in before. We were second to last in an eight team league designed for the top teams to win. A post for another day.

To my surprise, they had medals for each kid at the end of the year. In my previous league, participation awards ended at 8U or the Rookie Division. These medals were actually pretty hefty, about 2.5 inches in diameter and about 2.5 ounces. They had a photo-like front which had the league name and "Spring 2023 Junior Baseball." Not bad.

I thought they were a little impersonal though. So I called the trophy shop where the league bought them and asked if they could be engraved on the back. The shop said they could make metallic circles which could stick on the back of the medal and they could say pretty much anything. $36 for the whole team. So I ordered them with "2023 Red Sox," the kids jersey number and first name or nickname and then a line for team awards as voted by the players: two co-MVP, one most improved, one most coachable. The trophy shop was able to produce them when they were ordered the Monday prior to the Saturday pizza/game room end of season event.

I had Mrs. LT pull them randomly out of a small ball bag one at a time and give them to me. I said something positive about each kid as I handed them out one by one. Only one of the co-MVPs couldn't be there.

The kids wore them like they were Olympic Gold for the remainder of the event.

Participation awards aren't all that bad.
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
52,180
This could be its own thread. Our bunt sigh in little league was our coach yelling to us, "come on, get a little hit!" when we were up at the plate.
Our pickoff play (as in catcher trying to catch runner off second) was our all-state catcher yelling "Derek, wake the fuck up will you?"
 

Devizier

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Jul 3, 2000
18,791
Somewhere
My son has been moving up from recreational league to travel and now club soccer. This is definitely him pushing for advancement, especially the last one, which I am a little less thrilled about. One of the weird things is that there are no trophies at the travel or club level. Maybe in some of the bigger tournaments. It bugs him because his sister gets them (recreational level).