Monday, July 18, 2011

trophies are only important to parents

A month or so back there was a little league game. This little league game was a blowout. One side was kicking the tiny asses of the other side. At one point an umpire called a kid from the ass kicking team out at first base--supposedly, the kid was safe by a figurative mile. When the umpire was asked (or more likely harassed by parents) about his call he replied, "I was trying to even things out." The parents in the stand for the ass kicking team were completely up in arms. The parents so blinded by their rage, totally overlooked the fact the umpire clearly lied. The umpire just wanted to go home. Umpires get paid by the game not the hour.

Somehow this story made it's way from the little league field to my parents' dinner table. Yes, my parents, who are not grandparents, whose only child is a 30 something woman were discussing this little league. My parents who don't watch professional sports never mind little league games were nearly as livid as those parents. "This is the problem with this country. The kids are coddled. 'They're' killing competition. No one's feelings can get hurt anymore." Is that what this was about? I mean, one team did get to win, and win by a large margin. What about the lesson of compassion and being a good winner?

If those little league parents (or my own parents for that matter) saw a little springer spaniel puppy on the street and she seemed hungry would they just pass the adorable puppy with the sad, droopy eyes. "Suck it puppy. Learn to fend for yourself. It's Darwinism. Only the strong shall survive. You can't find food on your own. You are loser, puppy. " And the springer spaniel comes over to you slowly because it's so hungry and tries to lick your face because it's a springer spaniel it loves everyone. And those parents would respond, "Get away, springer spaniel! I'm trying to hurt your feelings and make you a tough self-reliant citizen. I want you to be cut throat. When you see a pregnant dog on the subway don't give up your seat. That fat bitch should have moved faster or worked harder so she could afford a cab."

I wonder if these heartless parents realize how unimportant sports is in the lives of children. I played soccer, softball, and basketball as a kid before I ever entered high school. I might remember three coaches I had in that time. The remember snippets of a handful of games, though not the outcome of a single one. What I do remember from childhood is trying to convince one of the girls who lived on my block that the baby powder that I had put in a small container was cocaine. Yes, at 10 years of age me and a couple of other kids wanted to trick our other neighbor we were doing coke. Sadly, for us she never believed us. That was the same girl we tried getting to jump out of the second floor window she used to lean out of to talk to us. She almost did, but because we had compassion and really didn't understand the principles of "survival of the fittest" we said, "No. No. No! We were just kidding."

In the end I really just think the umpire wanted to go home. Stop picking on puppies and less than smart neighborhood kids.

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