Cranks My Tractor

Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 11:08 AM.

In 1980, I started coaching baseball.  I have put in at more than 32 spring and fall seasons since that time.  For about 25 years, I coached without a son on my team.  The reason I keep hanging on is because I have a son who enjoys the game.

With 15- and 16-year-olds, you have to deal with a lot of things that you didn’t deal with when they were younger.  Things like metal spikes instead of rubber cleats.  Girls on the outside of the fences tend to cause players minds to wander.  Parents seem to have calmed down a little more, or perhaps after 32 years, I don’t worry so much about it.

It is also sometimes hard to tell if the boys are having a good time.  Even though I continually remind them that if they are not having a good time; they should find something else to do.

Me?  I have mellowed.  A lot…  My main goal is that my 14- and 15-year-old players get better, enjoy the game and be able to play for their high school teams if it is something they desire to do.  This fall, I have eleven players, in the tournaments we play in; we have the option of “batting the line-up.”  I do.

Everyone hits and everyone plays in the field about the same amount of time.  I’m a math guy; I can figure things like that out.

The cost of running a team and traveling an hour or two every other weekend is not cheap, especially considering the way things have been going with the price of gas, food and the economy.  I understand this and appreciate the parents who sacrifice their time and money to allow their sons to play ball.

Thirty-two years ago it seemed so simple.  I passed out the ball caps and jerseys which were just t-shirts with a number on the back and we played.  Some of the kids wore blue jeans, some of the parents sprung for baseball pants.  It didn’t matter.

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