Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Coach-Pitch Little League - An Orwellian Dystopia

My six year old son was on a losing baseball team this year. Wait, more than that. They lost every game (except one, miraculously), and when they lost, they lost big... Double digits... In spite of a 6-runs-per-inning limit.

I couldn't care less. My son had a good time and learned a lot about baseball and, far more importantly, he learned about teamwork and the value of practice.

Now here's where it gets good:

One of the other parents, predictably, did not share my casual attitude (they are only six years old. Six! for crying out loud) and so took it upon himself to write a hilariously disgruntled email to the head of the league of which I happen to have received have a carbon copy. I would like to share parts of it with you.

But first, a little background: The league is for kids 6-8. There are four teams. The four teams in our league play against each other and also against teams from other leagues from around the area. As I have mentioned, our team was by far the worst in the area. The other three teams in our league fared much better and apparently some of the parents of the kids on our team suspect corruption in the drafting process! None of our kids were chosen for the allstar team. As a result, our coaches and parents voted to boycott the end of season tournament. All in all, a real fiasco.

So now to the email. Let the hilarity ensue:

Quote 1:(The Boston Tea Party)

"The Red Socks, will not be playing in the end-of-the-year league
tournament. The [coaches and parents] opted for a display of civil
disobedience"


Well, I'll be the first to admit that nonviolent protest is indeed a viable option for addressing the issue. And it sure beats pitchforks and AK-47's as some of the other parents suggested. But what ever happened to good old not-giving-a-shit? I mean, we're not talking about life and liberty here. This is coach-pitch baseball for kids, half of which can't even tie their own goddamn shoes.

Quote 2: (Corruption in the drafting process)

"Many episodes of unfairness have occurred since the onset of the season.
First, the teams were not selected equitably. This is apparent because Team#1
has six “all stars” but Team#4 [our team] has zero. [This is] 'team
stacking'"


Well, he's right about one thing. We sucked. Bad. I'll grant him that. But I don't think this constitutes irrefutable evidence for "team stacking." In fact, the only thing "apparent" here is that this guy is a psychotic asshole. Now, I'm not sure where the burden of proof lies, but he's looking at a pretty weak case unless he can uncover an incriminating memo or something.

Quote 3: (A plea for a constitutional amendment and salary cap)

"An amendment must be put into place next season to avoid what has happened
this year. Even professional sports teams enact a salary cap to maintain a fair
and level playing field."
Go ahead. Read that again if you need to. I had to read that part four times before I could convince myself I hadn't gone completely bat-shit crazy. First of all, I don't even know if our league has a constitution to which an amendment can be made, but if it does, let me go on record as saying that I question its necessity. And second of all, a salary cap?!? My son didn't get paid at all! I demand an audit of the 50-50 raffle revenue. We can discuss a salary cap as soon as someone forks over our share.

Quote 4: (A philosophy to live by)

"These young boys are told day one that 'It’s not about winning and losing;
it’s about having fun.' Well, everyone knows that losing is not any fun."


All I can say to this one is:

Quote 5: (The art of exaggeration)

"This absurdity is reminiscent of an Orwellian dystopia where 'All teams are
equal, but some teams are more equal than others.'"
Get out. You're kidding, right? You're really going to compare a few kids having a lackluster season to the abject misery, poverty, and despair of a dystopia? I think it's safe to assume you're not up to date on your current events if this is the most outrageous societal error you can imagine.

Quote 6: (Waaaaah!!!!)

"I can’t explain to [my son] why his team lost all but one game even though
they diligently practiced and 'tried their best' each and every outing."
Here, let me try to explain it to him for you: LIFE ISN'T FUCKING FAIR! LEARN THAT AND GET OVER IT!

Join me next time when i discuss the mind-numbing phenominon of sports being considered a socially acceptible topic for smalltalk and the frustration of being the only man in the United States who doesn't care about ridiculously obscure sporting statistics.

1 comment:

Dan McKinley said...

Note that MLB has no salary cap and team stacking there is rampant. You would think this would be more commonly known in the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, whose entire payroll is less than what Steinbrenner pays A-Rod and Giambi. I guess it's more of a football town.

"Orwellian dystopia" is a bit pleonastic, don't you think? Also note that he is confused in the reference. "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" is from Animal Farm, which is an allegorical novel about a revolution devouring its children. 1984 is the book about a dystopia. Just once I'd like to see some red state crank invoke "Homage to Catalonia," or any other Orwell book that hasn't been taught poorly in the public school system since the Johnson administration. You say you've read the same book that millions of seventh graders were forced to read without context? Congratulations.