Last week I wrote about an incident at Gero Park in a piece on Teapot Despots in Little League - a piece that captured my frustrations with unsportsmanlike conduct at Gero Park.
In response to this post I had a chance to meet and correspond with MSHYB League President Tom Favia, the Player Agent, the League Disciplinarian/Head of Summer Ball and Blue Jays Chain manager. What I can tell you about these individuals is the following:
a) They are gentlemen and statesmen
b) They care deeply about MSHYB and the experience our children get from participation at Gero.
c) They sacrifice countless hours volunteering their time and energy to make our league run.
d) They are not happy with unsportsmanlike conduct.
In a swift and decisive decision, Presdient Favia circulated a league-wide directive reminding people to treat others with "some respect and common courtesy" and that youth baseball should be about "great friendships and great memories."
The individual Team Manager and Coach involved in the incident I described experienced supplemental discipline for their actions. I have come to learn that these men are family men who also volunteer their time. My belief is that they had a bad day. That, like many of our kids, they "booted a grounder." I believe they deserve a second chance to renew their focus on doing right by our kids with less focus on the scoreboard. We all make mistakes in life. I am no exception.
As to the future? I was assured that the league is committed to off-season initiatives that will strive to improve volunteer training, to clarify policies and procedures, and to advance an agenda that will continue to make sportsmanship a priority. I look forward to participating in that process as a parent and a volunteer.
Little League/MSHYB is an incredible community locally and nationwide with the capability to develop our youth into decent ball players, but even better citizens. But, this can only occur if poor sportsmanship is rooted out and dealt with in a direct and just manner. It takes a village as it is sometimes said. We must be accountable for our own conduct while reminding the person next to us to keep theirs in check too. We are all stewards of the KidsFirst culture that is often present and should always prevail at Gero Park. We must be willing, too, to ask people who get hopped-up to "tone it down" or "take five."
Gary Butter, Chain Manager for the Falcons put it best in a recent e-mail. Let "...players play, coaches coach, parents cheer...umpires ump..."
As for baseball itself? America's past-time. I think Nuke Lalouche said it best in the movie Bull Durham. "Baseball...sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains....think about it."
And the good news remains...whether or not one's team/chain wins a game or loses...the snack bar is always stocked with hot dogs and ice cream to ease the pain. Funny how the kids move on quicker than most parents after a loss...
See you on the diamonds.