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Very Frustrated - It should be about the kids


What a frustrating weekend in the world of youth baseball/softball in my town.  We are ramping up for the beginning of the youth baseball and softball seasons.  First, a little background...My 2 daughters played softball in the league last season.  My youngest played her third season in the 7-9 league.  I've coached that team each of those years.  My older daughter played in the 10-12 league.  I was the assistant coach of that team.  After the season, my older daughter decided that she didn't want to play this year.  My younger daughter expressed interest in playing baseball instead of softball this season - but she didn't want to be the only girl playing with the boys.  I had tried to put together a girls baseball team for this spring season and had about 8 girls committed to play.  I approached the 9-10 baseball league in town about having this team play with them.  However, I was told that while any girl who wants to play baseball should be able to, they cannot come in as a team and each would need to be placed in the draft withe the rest of the players.  That makes sense since they should all be treated the same.  I then explored the idea of an independent team without any league affiliation.  However, I ran out of time trying to work out the challenges associated with this idea - who we would play against, field usage, insurance, uniforms, etc.  So, rather than just sign up to play in the 9-10 baseball league herself and be the only girl on her team, my daughter decided to stick with softball for one more season.  I had originally planned to move her up to 10-12, but gave her the option to stay down one more year and I would coach her there again.


    Fast forward to this past Thursday, where I was informed that only 17 girls had signed up to play softball in the 7-9 league - not even enough for 2 teams.  This gave me pause.  However, the next day, I was informed that the local baseball committee was thinking about merging the 17 girls into the 7-8 baseball league!  I was pumped for a few reasons.  First, my daughter could now play baseball and not be the only girl.  Second, this was the perfect age for the girls to have the opportunity to play baseball.  They could then decide after that league whether they wanted to continue with baseball or play softball.  If it happened, I would also be able to coach one of the teams.  Well, over the next 24 hours many phone calls and emails were exchanged.  A phone poll of the 17 girls' parents was even conducted to get their feelings on the league merger.  Results were very positive with 9 in favor, 4 unavailable to respond, 3 not sure, and 1 not in favor.  However, in the end, it was decided by the powers that be (still not really sure who made the final decision), that they would not be allowing the girls to play baseball.  My daughter and I were disappointed as were some of the other girls' parents.  One parent was very disappointed and told me that she had originally tried to sign her daughter up for baseball and was told "NO".  I told her that they could not prevent her from playing baseball and that she should be able to sign up and be placed in the baseball draft like anyone else.  She then contacted the very close-minded and ignorant head of the baseball committee who told her that her daughter would never play baseball in our town and that she should take her to play in a neighboring town!  Wow!  Nice guy, huh?  Needless to say, she is not giving up.  Thanks to Tiff here on CheckSwing who provided me with several useful links that I then forwarded to this parent.  It appears that the committee is saying that Title IX does not apply to them since they are a private organization.  We'll see how this plays out.  What I don't understand is this...  Why would you tell someone, a child, "NO, you cannot play baseball?"


Back to the 7-9 softball league problem.  Instead of allowing these girls to play in the baseball league, they were now going to field 2 teams and try to get games with other towns.  To make matters worse, I was also informed that I would not be one of the 2 coaches.  I have coached a team in this league the past 3 seasons.  Its not about winning at this age, but I had taught and developed my players to love the game and and play it right.  As a consequence they won 2 straight championships - losing only one game in the past 2 seasons.  Again, I don't point this out to make it about winning at this age.  I only mention it to show how the kids developed, improved, and had fun.  They paid attention and were always ready.  I had many parents ask me to try to coach their daughters in the next age bracket.  To now be told that I would not have one of the teams is not in the best interest of the kids.  Given all of this, I decided to just move my daughter up to the next league.  (She had actually played 10 games in the older league last year, filling in on her sister's team, and did very well.) 


At this point, I figured the saga was over.  Little did I know, the "committee" would want to vote on whether they would allow my daughter to move up (since she doesn't turn 10 until November).  Given all of the above, I figured they would do what was in the best interest of my daughter and be fine with it.  Well, I just found out only hours ago, they decided against it.  Now, if I was still a coach in the 10-12 league, she could move up automatically.  But since I thought she was going to stay down, I had given up my spot in that league.  I was unaware at the time I did that that there would be so many issues with the younger league.  Sooooo, now I'm upset and not sure what I'm going to do.  I'm very frustrated that the "powers that be" are standing in the way of what's best for these kids.

Views: 286

Comment by Alyssa Rose Freeman on April 13, 2011 at 12:43am
Kyle you should talk to my mom she can give info on where to take these girls to play baseball. She put together a all girls baseball team. We are 13U playing in boy tournaments. Email her Dreambaseball@yahoo.com. She can help you and give you lots of info.
Comment by Theodoor Westerhof on April 13, 2011 at 12:50am
My goodness, I hope you can forgive me if I say that for the youth and amateur level the club system used in Europe would be much better than all this draft stuff,..
Comment by Kyle Grucci on April 13, 2011 at 12:52am

Thanks, Alyssa. 

 

@Theodoor - I know.  These guys think they know best though. :(

Comment by Tiffany Brooks on April 13, 2011 at 1:08am

Kyle,

I'm very, very sorry to hear the latest developments.  That is absolutely, 100% ridiculous.on all fronts. You know you and the girls (and their parents) have my complete support.  Let me know if I can help further.

Keep fighting the good fight -- you ARE making a difference!

Comment by Kyle Grucci on April 13, 2011 at 1:11am
Thanks, Tiff.
Comment by Ted Browne on April 13, 2011 at 1:42am
Kyle, do you know the two coaches they selected?
Comment by Arizona Cactus Wrens Women's Baseball Club on April 13, 2011 at 2:29am
Hit up all the local TV stations and newspapers.  I have been facing this type of stuff for 18 years.  Lowering the boom on them is the only way they will get it.
Comment by Jim Watson on April 13, 2011 at 2:33am

Kyle:

It's too early to deal with this, but through my involvement with Bob Salomon and the book/initiative "A Glove of Their Own" we have met a number of wonderful people all focused on supporting youth baseball and softball...The following is unedited/uncut and simply pasted from an email with the ED of the PCA (Positive Coaching Alliance); incl contact info..let them know we are all connected in one way or another...LOL

 

Here is our National Advisory Board:

 

http://www.positivecoach.org/subcontent.aspx?SecId=1348

 

 

 

Jason Pratt

Partner Development Executive - PA/NY/NJ/DE

484-415-0740 (office)   |   484-429-0112 (cell)

 

Personal Conference Line:

- Phone:  619-566-7434   - Passcode:  8343152#

 

Transforming Youth Sports So Sports Can Transform Youth

www.positivecoach.org

 

 

From: Jason Pratt [mailto:Jason_Pratt@positivecoach.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2011 3:39 PM
To: 'agloveoftheirown@aol.com'
Subject: Positive Coaching Alliance

 

Bob,

 

It was great speaking with you on the phone!  I look forward to speaking with you more when you have a few more minutes.  Please see the attached and feel free to browse the videos below as well.

 

For those in the Little League who don’t embrace this, they are not following what the parent organization (Little League of America) is expecting of them.  Refer to this video:

http://www.littleleague.org/pca/

 

This is a general video about what PCA is about:

http://www.positivecoach.org/subcontent.aspx?SecID=103

 

Phil Jackson PSA:

http://www.youtube.com/positivecoaching

 

Joe Ehrmann video:

http://www.youtube.com/positivecoaching#p/u/48/iKGzvEn4lzY

 

 

 

Jason Pratt

Partner Development Executive - PA/NY/NJ/DE

484-415-0740 (office)   |   484-429-0112 (cell)

 

Personal Conference Line:

- Phone:  619-566-7434   - Passcode:  8343152#

 

Transforming Youth Sports So Sports Can Transform Youth

www.positivecoach.org

Let me know if your interested, i can also tap on some "National" level firepower including Jennie Finch if needed...

 

Jim

(212) 602-1700

 

Did not see the "affiliation" status of the league you mentioned..Is it "Little League" or "Ripken" or who? Who charters the league?

 

Thanks Bro!

 

 

 

 

Comment by Perry Lee Barber on April 13, 2011 at 5:56am

The conversion of your frustration into positive energy will set an example for your daughter to emulate the rest of her life, Kyle. She'll know your advocacy comes from a position of love and support, even if the result isn't what either of you wanted. It seems unbelievable that a girl should have to fight just to play baseball in this day and age, but the battle goes on... one little girl and her parents at a time, one lawsuit at a time, one skirmish after another. Sometimes it seems to those of us deeply committed to this struggle that all our efforts and brief victories don't make things any easier for the next girl; we have to keep fighting the same battles over and over. But resistance from the baseball power structure does not diminish our determination, it only reinforces it.

My heart breaks for your daughter, whose excitement at the prospect of playing baseball has now been tempered by the realities of dealing with the dumb adults who have apparently forgotten what you have not: that it should be about the kids, not about the grownups and their ridiculous power trips. This is why kids get turned off to baseball, not because the game itself holds no appeal for them but because the adults drain all the joy out of participating from them. Why don't you take those 17 little girls, or however many of them still want to play, and regardless of whether there are enough to form a "team," hold practices and drills for them to learn fundamentals without the pressures of "winning" or competing? Just the joy of being outside, playing, laughing, shouting, learning, throwing a baseball, swinging a bat, will be enough to restore their love for the game and help them grow as young people. Enlist some local players to talk to the girls, to hold clinics for them, take field trips to watch a minor league or independent league game: there are a million things you can do to keep the girls within the baseball culture without exposing them to its corruptions that will keep their love for the game alive even if they're not playing within the structure of your town's baseball organizations.

Your love for your daughter and the frustrations you feel at being unable to provide her with a way to play baseball within a traditional framework don't have to result in disappointment. It's not the adversity we deal with that determines who we are as parents and people, it's the way we respond and rise above it. Your daughter will know you fought for her; that may not be "enough," but it's still a beautiful thing.

Comment by Marty on April 13, 2011 at 6:28am
Oh, jeez, Kyle.  Good luck.

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