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Tell Me Again Why We Can't Be Better

The Sporting Dad will be taking his message on the road.

“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.” -Vince Lombardi

Tell me again why a 10-year-old should be cut from a team made up of a group of his peers. And tell me how the coaches decided on which kid was not worthy of the jersey.

Tell me again why that 12-year-old played half the amount of innings and got half the amount of at-bats as the rest of the 12-year-old players on the team. Were coaches in a hurry to show off their potential All-Stars to the rest of the coaches?

Tell me again why we still overlook the blackballing of good people in our youth sports leagues. I doubt that there is a town in this state where this practice does not occur.                    

Tell me again how we can sit in the bleachers at a game in Anytown, CT, and name the same group of people who have destroyed that league.

Tell me again why that group is still in power. Explain it to me as if I’m six, or eight, or 10-years-old. I need to know before I run out of time or run away thinking I just can’t do it.

“Most men, when they think they are thinking, are merely rearranging their prejudices.” - Knute Rockne

Tell me again why four neighboring towns cannot each take their pool of kids and distribute them evenly on several travel teams. Tell me why they can’t all play against each other. Actually don’t tell me, I know the answer to that one. And so must you.

Tell me again (this is for some of the coaches and league administrators out there) why so many parents are afraid to approach you. I’m being told that they are worried that you will take it out on their children — like keeping them out of games more than keeping them in games.

Tell me again who gave you so much power. At the very least, we all want to know how some of you came to the conclusion that intimidation, that talking down to a child, that snide remarks about ability is a great way to get through to a kid.

"Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play." - Mike Singletary

Tell me again why every town where this article is being read does not rally around the notion that something needs to be done — and done now. It takes a group of parents willing to organize some thoughts and goals. You’re out there. I get your emails. Do you need a facilitator?

What’s the worst that can happen? Maybe your little group begins to grow and people start to listen and the bad guys at the top of everyone’s list get stripped of their superpowers. Many are bullies but they are not made of steel.

And finally, I’d like you know how much I’ve enjoyed the past year and a half. However, the world of local media and the demands in one’s life are constantly changing.

I’ve learned much from you and I’ve grown as a parent, youth sports activist, and writer. And though I won’t be writing weekly, I’ll still have an opinion to share a couple times a month.

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world."
-Mahatma Gandhi

A movement has begun in these parts. And if you’d like, I can visit your local youth sports group and help to initiate the path to positive change.

We CAN build better youth sports programs. It all begins with a simple conversation.

Ex Republican January 25, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Keep it up Ron. It is almost time for the annual rites of Spring where millions of kids will be humiliated in front of the peers by coach/parents who think it is all about winning and not life.
Observor January 25, 2013 at 05:15 PM
There are two problems: 1. A person who puts that much effort into dominating youth sports cannot be reasoned with. I've known many who had Jekell-and-Hyde personalities. Decent, rational people until sports are involved. 2. In matters related to any youth organization, the people who volunteer the most time usually end up getting their own way because they will stay up all night arguing.
Ron Goralski January 25, 2013 at 08:32 PM
I get your point. You are right. But a group of parents willing to band together and sit at the table with these types is a good place to start. A youth sports board needs to be challenged by outsiders every so often. Or, even better, a collection of people with varying views need to be at the table. This youth sports thing truly benefits every child only if there is a balance in the way the organization is run. I don't want people to be satisfied with the status quo if it's favoring one group of kids over another. The needs of the kids come before the needs of the coaches. Always.

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