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LOCAL



Published: Sun, July 7, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



LOCAL

Son quits baseball, maybe forever

Fanfare:

My son quit baseball today. After playing a number of years, someone decided he was not worthy of playing on the team. I watched an enthusiastic kid, who loved to play ball, be humiliated each game to the point that he finally decided to quit his favorite sport. It was tough watching our team play. We lost game after game by more runs than any of us would like to admit. We seldom had a chance. Yet, the same kids played inning after inning while the remaining few sat out game after game. Never mind that all the players made numerous errors (as many 13-year-olds naturally do); the same few were singled out if they struck out or made an error to justify the decision not to play them. The message was clear: You don't perform to our expectations, so we won't let you play.

It depressed me to see my son excitedly leave for his games. I knew that the result would be the same -- lots of time in the dugout and verbal abuse if he did not meet their standards the few times they threw him a scrap and let him play. (Should baseball still be fun at this age? -- for the kids, I mean.)

Yet he endured this and showed up time after time because he loved the game and hoped for a chance to play. Well, they finally managed to break his spirit today and got their way. Great job of coaching "for the kids."

James Smith, M.D.

Liberty




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