Why so serious?

Since my own daughter opted out of playing high school softball her senior year, I’ve found I have a lot of time on my hands. It doesn’t go to waste, though. I tend to wander out and catch games that either involve students of mine, players on my team, kids I know, or sometimes even some random game.

If you’ve never done it — gone to a game where you don’t have a direct stake in the outcome — it’s really an interesting experience. What you notice the most is how emotional, upset, angry, etc. otherwise seemingly reasonable people can get. I’ve watched as parents and/or other fans totally freak out over an umpire’s call — even if it’s the right call. They get angry over a poor strategic move, a missed play or dozens of other things.

I understand. I’ve been there too. But when you stop and watch a game you ‘re not totally invested in you can see how silly it sounds at times.

For most of us, we are watching kids playing a kid’s game. Winning that game, that tournament, that league championship may seem important at the time, but it’s really not. At least not in the big scheme of things.

We want to see our kids do well, or better yet do their best. But sometimes that desire gets in the way of common sense. If you find your blood boiling and your tolerance level dropping, take a deep breath, take a step back, and ask yourself the Joker’s question — why so serious? Then take a chill pill and be glad you live somewhere that a fastpitch softball game can be your biggest concern in the world.

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on May 12, 2009, in General Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Amen!!!! This is so true! I have a 25 year old who I coached from age 5 until 16. The other day I asked him if he remembered winning a particular championship game. He replied he did not. At the time, it seemed huge, but in the greater scheme of life, it is such a minor incident. So, I asked him what his fondest memory of playing ball was, the answer was interesting. He was a good player, but not a superstar by any means, he would hit in the middle of the line up and play infield, but at least 4 or 5 other players on the team were better than him. One time in a random middle of the season game, they intentionally walked the guy in front of him to bring him up in the top of the last inning. I turned to him and said, “that’s a direct challenge, they don’t think you can do it”. He ripped a ball down the 3rd base line, scored 2, and inevitably won the game. He remembers it vividly. I personally can’t really remember any single game from my youth, win or lose wise. I remember the first time I pitched at age 9 walking in 22 runs, and then the last year I pitched pitching a 3 hit shutout that a kid we called “porky” robbed a home run and hit his head on the fence knocking himself out.So, I have parents on both of my softball teams like you describe. I really don’t get it. It seems to be more prevalent in softball than baseball as well. Is it because they are girls? Parents go nuts. But have you ever really seen a kid go nuts?I can remember a few acts of unsportsmanlike conduct, but I have never really seen a kid go nuts like the parents do. Why? There is the million $$$ question.

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  2. Hard to say why. I think we just get too wrapped up in wanting our kids to succeed. You can kind of see it in baseball, because if they DO succeed there’s a big payoff at the other end. But softball? Best you can hope for is a scholarship, and that won’t keep the parents in the lap of luxury the rest of their lives.They talk a lot about how the Millennial generation has been coddled their whole lives and can’t take criticism. But who was it that convinced them they were all so special in the first place? What adults have to remember is the game is for the kids, not for them. I doubt winning the Midlands 12U championship tournament puts you first in line for Mike Candrea’s job if and when he decides to retire. And your kid dropping a popup, while tough at the time, doesn’t mean much in the big scheme of things either.

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