Sunday, June 22, 2014

Little League Parents Out of Control

I always find it sad (and somewhat amusing in a deviant sort of way) when parents get so involved in the game that they resort to screaming at each other. Picture this. A late afternoon Little League baseball game that starts 30-minutes late on a Saturday afternoon. Not a cloud in the sky or a hint of a breeze. It is hot with the temperature hoovering around 85°. Shade is at a premium. I'm in my lawn chair enjoying the spot of minivan shade with a view up the third base line to home plate. To my left is the big, heavy-set, obnoxious guy.

I am not being mean. If you picture a large, obnoxious guy you would think of someone like him. His neck is red from hours in the sun probably watching Little League baseball games. He is tossing out barbs at the 16-year old umpire, dropping the occasional cutting remark to hitters on the opposing team, and vocally questioning the coaching skills on both teams. All while constantly spitting. You know the type.

The game moves slowly. The players are hot. The parents are more than ready to leave. The game enters its third, oppressive hour. Score 17-12. My son's team leads, and the opposing team has last at bat. Two outs. The coach decides to put in a new pitcher who happened to have thrown a few pitches in the first inning. A potential breakage of Little League rules. All hell breaks loose.

The large guy erupts. All of a sudden he is the leading expert on replacement pitchers in 11-year old Little League baseball. Then all four of my son's coaches start yelling at the obnoxious fat guy who will not stop his rant. The losing team coaches are now yelling at the winning team's coaches. Remember that these coaches and the big guy in the left field stands are all parents of these players. The Little League players now join in and start taunting one another and mocking the big fat guy who is still yelling.

But the Moms in the stands and those with babies and toddlers seeking shade under the trees join the fray, defending their boys from the coaches and the big, fat expert on pitcher replacement. A momentary lull in the cacophony lets a lone Mom cry out, "It's just a game! They're just kids. This is supposed to be fun! Just let it go." Thank you sane Mom in the bleachers.

The heavy-set guy gives a last shout and finally shuts up when he realizes no one really cares about his opinions. The coaches on both benches calm down. The coach leaves in the pitcher to deliver three strikes, and the last out. Game over at last. An amused smile on my face, I am just glad to leave this place.

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