‘Teamwork’ is a lie

“Teamwork Baseball is committed to developing player skills and sportsmanship.” That’s what the website says. True enough; as long as they believe the player is ‘worth’ continuing to develop. If not, any number of exciting alternate possibilities emerge, none of which have anything to do with coaching or sportsmanship.TeamWorkLogo2

It’s possible that the main coaches will stop coaching a player altogether, up to and including a scenario like the following:

Two outs. Last inning. Down by two with the tieing run at the plate. The devalued player is at second. It is the last regular season game, with playoff seeding implications. A very good time for the coaches to be as on their game as they’re asking the players to be. But the third base coach has written the player at second off. So much so that he doesn’t even acknowledge there’s a baserunner out there. When the player slides into third on a successful steal attempt, said coach still makes like no-one is on the base paths. Not just no ‘good job, here’s what’s next,’ but not even a glance in that direction. The player takes his lead off third and scores when the batter hits safely. A lot of his teammates are justifiably excited. There is no acknowledgement whatsoever from the coach as the player goes back to the dugout.

I happened to filming that day. The whole chain of events is right there in red and white. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

It’s also possible that some portion of the coaching staff will run a ‘code red’ (you know, like in ‘A Few Good Men’) on the player, deputizing an older sibling to make sure the player never feels good about what he’s doing on the field or off. And he won’t be riding all the kids, just the one. If the player speaks up about it, he’ll either be told to stop being a crybaby by the involved coaches, or to just ignore it and keep playing ball by the others.

There were coaches who kept working with him, and given the environment, they deserve more praise than even all the countless other coaches out there who take up massive amounts of their own time in a good-faith effort to help improve the kids of their community.

They help develop his skills. They help steel him from the barbs. You do the same at home; preaching the values of not quitting, of seeing through what you start.

 baseball_firstbase

The preceding dynamics were at work for the last 5 weeks (April-early May) of a season the started with practices in January. Shortly after the final regular season game, the player hurts himself at his school’s field day. He asks if he can stop, now that he’s seen the team through the full regular season.

The difference between ‘quitting’ something and leaving a patently unhealthy situation becomes very clear at a time like this. You say yes, especially since the player might not be able to practice for a while anyway and compose an e-mail to that affect, letting Teamwork know that they should plan on not having said player on their post-season roster and thanking those who continued to help him along. The two of you literally never think about the team again.

And evidently you weren’t alone. Because no-one from the team ever responded in any way. No ‘sorry to see you go’ or ‘have a good summer’ or ‘see you next year’ or anything. “Fair enough,” you think to yourself, “at least they seem to know the score.” Good riddance on both ends.

Some time goes by and the player comes home asking if you’d heard that Teamwork won the end of season tournament? “No, I hadn’t. But good for them.” A day or two later you get a group e-mail from the team with details regarding the end-of-season party. Probably just an oversight; a team mom forgot to take you off the e-mail list.

<DELETE>

Another comes. Same action.

<DELETE>

The third calls the player out by name; ‘hoping that he’ll come’ and letting him know they’ve put a championship ‘trophy aside for him.’ You decide it wouldn’t be right to not at least loop the player in. He says he wants to go. That he’s got friends on the team he wants to see. You remind him that probably not everyone is going to be happy to see him, his having ‘quit’ the team and all, and that the older sibling in particular would certainly be around.

You both mull it for another day or two, decide the invitation seems very sincere and that you both should go, if only in the evident spirit of putting a good end to things.

 l_d4465aad046053450d3fc38e2a93bcd3This is when the possibilities really start to multiply.

People – adults and children alike – are generally playing well with each other. It’s a beautiful day at the home of the third-base coach, whose company Teamwork Construction Services is also the team sponsor. The kids are in and out of the pool. The adults are eating and hanging out. The player complains a couple of time about kids, including Mr. Code Red, using him for target practice with the pool balls and what not. You advise him to stay away and just play with the ones he’s having fun with. He does so. The other kids don’t relent. So he sits out for a while. One last trip to the pool is made before departure. The abuse resumes, and this time the player snaps.

He winds up and pegs the co-player who kept hitting him with the ball. When Mr. 14 year-old Code Red brother gets in his face he doesn’t back down from him either.

Now the joint really starts jumping. Sponsor/third-base coach is also Code Red’s dad. He grabs the player, throws him to the ground, and holds him there, pressing hard enough that the player later says he couldn’t breath and was afraid his teeth were going to get pushed out.

But the possibilities don’t end there! It’s also possible that another of the coaches gets a few licks of his own in on the side while the player is being held down. More on this cool guy later, but picture it if you will….two 40ish men double-teaming an 11 year-old boy.

You arrive on the scene immediately after they’ve pulled him to his feet, still one on each arm. Bright guy that you are, you decide it’s probably time to leave and instruct player to gather his belongings.

Host/etc. says he needs to escort you off the property. You insist that really isn’t necessary, but whatever. During the walk down the long rural driveway the three of you engage in a heated but non-shouting discussion regarding how disappointed each of you is in what a jerk the other turned out to be.

As you’re waiting to cross the road to where you’ve parked, who should make his return but Mr. Licks-In! Walking down the driveway, hollering names, almost literally beating his chest; basically appearing to be having a flashback to some keg party he was once king of.

As his approach continues and you cross the street, Capt. Kegger gets a couple more verbal shots in, bellowing: “Just get out of here NERD!!!”

You’re frozen in space and time for a moment. Nobody has called you a nerd with such sincere anger and hatred since at least ninth-grade.

Hahaha. Joke’s on me I guess, Col. Cool isn’t stuck in a suspended college reality, he’s still a high-school jock. Really. His head is stuck at 16. It suddenly becomes clear why he literally never spoke to you about any issues he might have had with the player: he still had trouble talking to grown-ups!pwned

Of course the best is saved for last. He hollers at the 11-year old player, repeatedly, “Come and find me once you turn 18!” I’m not quite sure what his intent was. He only dealt with him at 11 once another grown man already had him pinned to the ground. Maybe he was just using some sort of cool lingo beyond the likes of us simple nerd-folk..

 As 11U champions this past year, Teamwork will be playing 12 AA in the season ahead if they keep enough kids around. Just thought everyone should know about the possibilities that lie ahead for their kids and themselves should they choose to get involved.

15 thoughts on “‘Teamwork’ is a lie

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  1. you’re friend told me they had a problem with me and proceeded to tell me why. your friend seems to be the one stuck on saying that your son was hit. “but you absolutely DO NOT HIT A KID”. his words. All I have done is try to let it be known that there was no hitting, and the physicality used was purely restraint. I am done with this, period.

  2. whatever Mike. I never said anyone hit Drew. we decided against legal action even though Drew was clearly and visibly assaulted for only two reasons 1) respect for most of the people involved and 2) the suspicion that no-one but me would be willing to testify on his behalf.

    you can say whatever you want about my child Mike. he and your son were friends. they might still be. they’re both good kids.

    and that’s the thing. for every one of you who is willing to say whatever shit you want about my boy, there’re 10 others who will without ulterior motive, need, provaction, coercion, or anything else tell anyone who asks what an outstanding kid he is. i’ll take that ratio ’til the end of time.

    i’m not blaming anyone for anything except what happened. how ’bout you? not so much. everything but the kitchen sink (or one split second of regard/concern) has been thrown our way in the aftermath, including flat-out fabrications, and yet, no-one can point out one thing I said that didn’t actually happen.

    if you feel ‘he got what he deserved’ — as pretty much everyone else who was there seems to given the general reaction or lack thereof — that reflects on you, not me.

  3. one sided……….that’s really all this is. Chris is your partner, or co-worker, or friend or whatever he is…..so you see his side. to be straight, NOONE hit a kid PERIOD!!!, the boy was held back from charging at others. if that were the case, IF SOMEONE HIT HIS KID, then why did Chris not get law enforcement involved? I mean, if someone hit my kid you can sure as fuck believe that the law would be involved(especially if my wife was an attorney) and honestly, there would have been me whoopin someones ass at the same time…..if he was really hit by an adult that day, what kind of dad would just let that happen? It’s all bullshit, that’s why. and again, I never said it was ok to hit another kid, where do you get that from? I said I will defend my child, never mentioned the word hit. the funny thing here, like I said, is that this is so one sided and distorted that it’s not even funny. the bullying and hitting was started that day by…….wait for it, wait for it, Chris’s child……..but of course he’s not going to tell you that.

    “The child who did the bullying and was attacked when his victim finally snapped got exactly what he deserved.”

    those are your words stephe, so I guess that changes if the kid is actually your friend Chris’s kid right? My son has been bullied many times by Chris’s son, want proof and I will have my son tell you each and every time because he remembers them well, yet he still tried to be the bigger person and still be friends. When the bullying took form of throwing rocks at my son, I stepped in. Was I wrong for that too? I really shouldn’t be wasting my time with this, but it bothers me to see someone blame everyone else for a problem they clearly have trouble handling on their own and I believe it goes way deeper than just this situation. I have said enough. I get the point, only Chris’s son is allowed to bully, call names, throw rocks at, baseballs at, basketballs at and the list actually does go on from my sons accounts of his actions towards just him…….look up the definition of accountability, then try to teach it to your son.

  4. I read this post and the comments with great interest since my daughter is now getting involved in youth sports. I’ve already met one father who’s commented that the coach’s daughter is ‘pretty good for a girl’ and that he doesn’t ‘let his boys cry’.

    I’m sure he’ll be loads of fun at time goes on.

    I’ve read this post over and over again, and Chris has made a sincere effort to not call out the entire team. He’s said that the problem was with only one or two coaches and a couple of players. He’s even praised the other coaches for their patience and willingness to work with players to make them better.

    So, chill out Mike, you’re off the hook as far as Chris is concerned.

    But not so much with me.

    What interests me about this story, is that from Chris’ point of view, two of the team’s coaches, and a sponsor no less, allowed a couple of players to bully another. Worse still, they might have encouraged it.

    If that is the case (and I suspect that it was) then ‘Teamwork’ IS a lie. A flat out fucking lie. And all the parents and coaches who allowed it to happen ARE a part of that lie. Worse still, they are cowards for not putting a stop to the abuse.

    The child who did the bullying and was attacked when his victim finally snapped got exactly what he deserved.

    A parent has every right to step in when his kid’s attacked by another kid, but it shouldn’t go so far as returning punches. Maybe you grab him in a bear hug and take him off to one side, or push him away and hold him at arm’s length, but you absolutely DO NOT HIT A KID! Can that be made any clearer? Did you never have the ‘you don’t hit your little brother because you’re twice his size and you’re going to hurt him’ lesson? Did anyone at that party?

    Better yet, do you really want to be on the record saying it’s okay to punch out the little shit who hit your kid because your kid was picking on him? That doesn’t make you the brave defender of the family honor, just a bigger bully than your child.

    As for another adult jumping in, and maybe throwing in a few licks of his own, then challenging the kid to a fight when he’s 18… Well, that is severely defective. His behavior is indefensible. It’s the kind of emotional retardation we should be using as an example of what not to be when a kid grows up. An asshole.

    Who calls someone a nerd anymore anyway?

  5. You know what, Michael? The gentleman above actually raises a good point. Apparently, to your way of thinking, there comes a time when a kid can frustrate an adult to the point that violence and threat-of-same in the future are a justifiable course of action. And yet you lecture me on morals….

    You guys seem to be doing a fine job. I mean that. So is what you’re going on about really what you think? That what happened there was somehow ‘OK” or ‘justified’?

    1. I didn’t justify what happened and I never said it was right, I was merely pointing out that many of the things you are saying happened as you were a part of our team didn’t actually happen [LIKE WHAT?]. And I also like how you are avoiding the fact that the only reason your son was “gone after” by adults was because he was going after another child and you showed no interest in stopping him [AS I EXPLAINED, I ADVISED HIM AS TO HOW TO DEAL WITH THE SITUATION PROPERLY. HE WENT BACK, THE ATTACKS ON HIM CONTINUED. HE RESPONDED. THEN THE ADULTS RESPONDED TO HIM. AND I RESPONDED TO THEM. I NEVER HAVE BELIEVED NOR SUGGESTED THAT HE WAS JUST ‘JUMPED” OR SOMETHING…BUT AGAIN, A KID PISSING SOMEONE OFF DOESN’T GIVE THE RIGHT FOR WHAT HAPPENED TO HAPPEN. IT WAS OUT OF LINE. PERIOD.]. Had your son been going after my son, you can guarantee that I would have stepped in and stopped it [I’M SURE THAT YOU WOULD HAVE. I ALSO SUSPECT YOU WOULD HAVE SHOWED SOMEWHAT GREATER RESTRAINT IN YOUR INTERVENTION]. Some of us believe in protecting our own [HE WAS PROTECTING HIMSELF. THEN I PROTECTED HIM BY US LEAVING]. It was called prevention Chris [THERE WAS NOTHING PREVENTATIVE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED]. What happened at the end of the driveway was childish and wrong on ALL of y’alls parts and as I said, I was trying to mediate between all of you and never said that it was right [CORRECT. I SHOULDN’T HAVE STARTED YELLING BACK. JR. AND I WERE TALKING TO XX WAITING FOR TRAFFIC TO PART WITHOUT MUCH LOVE AT THE PARTICULAR MOMENT, BUT ALSO NO HOLLERING AT EACH OTHER. THEN YY SHOWED UP…AND THE REST IS HISTORY] What I was going on about was you calling out the entire team and coaching staff in your story [I DIDN’T], I have every right to be offended by it because by your title “Teamwork is a lie” you are calling me a liar, my son a liar and everyone else involved with this team a liar [I REALLY TRIED TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT ACROSS THE BOARD CONDEMNATION WAS NOT WARRANTED OR INTENDED. I ALSO TRIED TO LEAVE JR’S TEAMMATES OUT OF IT ENTIRELY. I HAVE CONTINUED THAT POLICY WITH MY EDITING OF THIS COMMENT],

  6. Did an adult go after a kid?

    Did he stand in the driveway challenging the kid to a fight when he’s 18?

    If so, there’s not a whole lot that can be said to make that ‘right’. The adult is wrong, and even moreso, an asshole.

  7. you flat out blasted our team and the coaches, I brought facts, and you are saying they don’t add interest. they don’t add interest because they don’t meet your bs story. I am done with this, you are very immature by posting this one sided, see it your way story, and you are not man enough to allow another side, the true side, to be seen. I love the moral upbringing you are giving, keep up the good work!

    1. I said that alot of the coaches hung right in there. And they did. You were among them.

      Maybe ‘interest’ was the wrong word. Nothing you said contradicted the actual chain of events as described by me in any way. You can add whatever you want to events. A billion and one other things could probably be thrown into the cup from any and every perspective. But none would change what happened.

  8. wow, continually deleting posts that are true sows true cowardice. why wouldn’t you allow them to remain on this page? I guess because the truth would pretty much make this story seem very childish and idiotic.

    1. they just don’t really add anything of interest Mike. I agreed that the ending was pretty childish (had forgotten it was there actually), so took that off, and agreed with the guy from SKSA that they really didn’t have any skin the game so should be left out.

      thanks for the help keeping it straight.

  9. Yeah, youth athletics is the only place I still end up dealing with them in some way I can’t escape. The random encounters of course still happen from time to time. You ever notice how gas stations seem to bring out the worst in people?

    Re: Tarantino. I knew we were outgunned. I learned my lesson on that score New Year’s Eve of 1990. I had some visions in the afterglow, but as the old saying goes ‘kill before you chill!’

  10. There are assholes and then there’s an asshole who would threaten an 11 year old boy.

    I, unfortunately, work with around a number of people like this. Stupid jackoffs.

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