Kids' sports & politics – enough already

Kids’ sports and politics…. Why????? 

Kacey was invited to join an independent softball team this year. This means she won’t try out for a team with the local association as she normally does. She (and we) decided to accept the invitation.

Here’s why. Let me recap last year:

  • 1 “head” coach who was too busy with other commitments to actually attend most practices, ANY regular season games and most of the weekend tournaments.
  • 3 assistant coaches doing the best they could to field a team that could compete in their division, without the assistance of the “head” coach.
  • 1 “head” coach’s wife and her buddy (also a player’s mom) who sat behind the backstop at every practice and game last year, undermining the assistant coaches and telling their daughters to do the exact opposite of what the assistant coaches asked.
  • Endless emails from the “head” coach to his assistant coaches, (and copied to all the parents) berating the the assistant coaches for making the girls run during practice. (Making softball players run! The nerve! Like they’ll need to be in condition for running the bases or something!) The berating stemmed from multiple “complaints” from parents insisting that the girls were being overworked and that there was fear that the girls would get sick or injured.
  • Players’ parents talking to each other after these scathing emails only to find out no one was complaining except for “head” coach’s wife and her buddy.
  • Head coach having a team meeting after the team got knocked out of the state tournament, berating the girls for playing poorly, except for HIS daughter, to whom he announced in front of the rest of the team, “You are too good to play with this team. I’m putting you on a club team next year.”
  • “Head” coach is now the president of our association and doesn’t play well with others.

So, it seems most of the girls in the 14U age level in our association are choosing not to try out for the association but moving on to independent teams. We had a team meeting tonight to get everyone up to speed on how we are going to pull this off. The meeting was held in the banquet room at a local grill and bar. We have several options for getting an independent team together, free of control freaks and their wives.

After the meeting was over, we moved out of the banquet room and into the bar. We happened to be sitting with one of last year’s assistant coaches, Doug.

As we were sitting and excitedly discussing how nice it will be to have a team of players and parents who just want to see the girls improve their skills and have fun, Doug’s phone began to ring. He answered it, only to discover it was the wife of last year’s “head” coach. The conversation went something like this:

Ring, ring!

Doug: “Hello, this is Doug.”

“Head” coach’s wife: “Doug! I know you guys are having a meeting about forming an independent team! You CAN’T do this! There are barely enough girls left to form a team for our association! You BETTER tell me what’s going on there!”

Doug: “I’m sorry. I think you have the wrong number!”

MAN, I am looking forward to this year’s softball season!

17 thoughts on “Kids' sports & politics – enough already

  1. Notice you never once said anything about the actual athletes being a problem? I coached my step son’s 8-9 year old team, assistant coached. Parents were the biggest problem. I HATED it so much I quit coaching.We had the same type of stuff, parents, whose kids had the coordination of a drunken elephant, complaining their kid wasn’t in the infield or hitting cleanup.

    I decided it wasn’t worth it.

    On the other hand, Upwards sports are too developmental and not competitive enough. I don’t like leagues where everyone wins.

    In a way I hope my daughter doesn’t go into team sports and goes into swimming or tennis.

    Parents need to chill out.


    PS – I’m not talking about you of course.


  2. Way to take charge of an ugly situation Terri, I remember when I was in Volleyball in school, I was very serious, but my mom was always making sure that we were having fun, there was a good balance there, enough push to get better, and enough love and support to know I could have an off day and she stil thought I was a winner. Made me love team sports!!!


  3. Bananas. Who knew youth sports could be so cut throat and corrupted? I hope you guys have fun on the independent team.

    “…a team of players and parents who just want to see the girls improve their skills and have fun…”

    Well said! Sounds like the team I’d want to be on…or my daughters for that matter. Good luck!


  4. Sounds like a great move – I am sure it will be much more fun for all involved, except for the head coach, his wife and her friend, of course. “Wrong number”. That guy has got style!


  5. Good for you, Terri! I guess Mr. No-Show can always say he’s involved in the community…You wonder how and why it works for him to be like that.

    Kid sports definitely brings out the control freak in a lot of people. My husband coaches 3rd and 4th grade P&R basketball, and the parents are enough to make him nuts. They are so focused on the win. Not the kid, not the game-the win. It’s crazy. I have learned to sit far away and say after, “I didn’t have my glasses or I would have seen you.”

    Good luck!


  6. Unfortunately, the politics are also in the ‘independant leagues’. My son plays for a nationally recognized baseball organization. No exaggeration, every year there are a couple of 17 year olds that are drafted into the MLB. The others are stuck with scholarships to college. You would think that these parents had better things to do than to act like high school kids. Not the case. There is constant back biting and manuevering. One parent, self proclaimed righteous representative, took it upon himself to copy all of the parents on the team as he berated another parent in an email. Apparently they have dealt with one another for 4 years and the righteous parent had enough. So he typed an email, like a 13 year old girl, berating the father for his selfish behavior and advising him of how bad a parent he is to his son. Most of us just joined the league. Most of the people, who do not respond to the emails are educated. I was appalled. Nonetheless, this parent managed to get his son invited to the nationals with a team that is a higher level. His son really is not a star, but a really good kid. That’s all. What is a shame is that there are more skilled and devoted kids that will not be afforded the opportunity. Nothing different than township ball, just a larger fee to enter.


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