Delenda Est Carthago

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!

26.8.08

Raising a nation of wusses

In case you don't read about sports as much as I do, a nine-year-old boy has been told he's too good to pitch. In this crazy, mixed-up world of ours, being good is now something bad. Here's the gist:

Jericho Scott of New Haven has a fastball that tops out about 40 miles per hour, which is pretty darned fast for a nine-year-old. It's too fast, according to the Youth Baseball League, and they told the coach he couldn't pitch. Last week, when they took the field with Jericho on the mound, the other team forfeited and left. The league said they would disband Jericho's team and redistribute the players, offering refunds to anyone who wants one. His coach, Wilfred Vidro, says the team refuses to disband.

The league attorney says that Jericho just pitches too fast. There are a lot of beginners in the league, and they're too scared to face him. There appears to be some politics involved, as Jericho turned down an invitation to play for the defending champion, which happens to be sponsored by the employer of one of the League's administrators. Of course, Jericho's team was 8-0 and on the way to the playoffs when the administrators decided Jericho was too good.

One thing we haven't heard is the reactions of parents of Jericho's opponents. We haven't heard the parents whining because Jericho scares their children. So we have only the administrators' word that Jericho scares the children. Even so, this is a pretty ridiculous story. Jericho has never hit anyone with a pitch, so that's not a concern. The only thing that seems to be a problem is, indeed, that Jericho is too damned good at what he does.

I hope it comes down that the parents of the other children who face Jericho stand up and demand that he plays. If it's just a political rivalry, as the stories suggest, that's one thing, but if parents really want Jericho off the team, that's just idiotic. Many people are whining that this is just another example of people trying to level the playing field and not let anyone win. We can't damage the psyche of the children, after all! But we still haven't heard if any parents complained about Jericho. It could all just come down to a power play by a rival team. Still, it speaks volumes that the administrators of the league think this is a perfectly acceptable reason for shutting down a team. There's this idea that we need to protect children from failure. If Jericho is too good, the parents of his opponents should either help their kids get better or explain to them that sometimes, people are just better than you. Yes, it sucks, but that's the way it is. If your nine-year-old kid can't hit a 40-mph fastball, tell him that sucks, but he should deal with it. Failure is a part of life, and these kids should deal with it. I have big problems with the Little League World Series on television, but one thing I don't have a problem with is that there's a winner and a loser. If a 12-year-old loses and cries, that's something he has to deal with.

I hope that we hear more about this story, because I really do want to hear what the parents are saying. I would be disappointed if parents don't want Jericho to play because he's too good. I wonder, as always, what will happen to these kids when they actually have to deal with failure and their parents aren't there to save them. Crying when you're nine and you can't hit a fastball is okay. Crying when you're 29 and your life isn't going the way you want is a little embarrassing.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Roger Owen Green said...

I was in the bank/Starbucks (really) today and saw a snippet of this story. The caption on the tease: "A league of his own." How cute is THAT? (gag)

27/8/08 10:16 AM  
Blogger Vara said...

What utter pabulum! At the Olympics, one of the swimmers was an amputee from South Africa (a Ms du Toit, I believe), who asked for no accommodations or special treatment. She came in 16th, but, she acted with total poise and dignity, and accepted her result.

If the kid is numero uno, so be it. That's the way of it, athletic skill is not something we can "legislate". One has it or one doesn't (for the record, this gal "doesn't").

To repeat, what utter rot! What have we come to? The therapeutic crowd has to go... do get your Remington pumps ready, and I don't mean shoes!

Vara

27/8/08 10:50 AM  
Anonymous beta ray steve said...

Can't they just bump him to the next level?

29/8/08 6:58 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

That's a solution, Steve. I have no idea why. I'm going to have to keep track of the story until it resolves, because it's interesting.

I read about Ms. du Toit (whose first name escapes me), and it was such a cool story. I agree - it's silly to try to legislate against athletic ability. But that's what we've come to!

29/8/08 5:14 PM  
Blogger Roger Owen Green said...

Bumping the kid up a level may not be to the kid's advantage. The particulars escape me, but it has to do with the number and types of pitches thrown at the higher level which could do the boy physical harm.

30/8/08 3:46 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

That's true, Roger. I doubt if a 9-year-old throws anything but a straight fastball, which makes it even more silly that kids are scared. You can time anything, so learn to time a 40 mph pitch, and you can hit it a mile. I know the kids in the LLWS were throwing curve balls (they shouldn't have been, but they were), so that could be it. They don't want to push a 9-year-old to the next level where he might have to start working on a curve.

30/8/08 7:33 AM  

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