Aug 26, 2008

Don't be exceptional or it will cost you...

Baseball Team's Pitcher, 9, Ousted for Being Too Good

I saw this story on Fox News yesterday and couldn't believe what I was reading. Then I heard my friend Speedy and Rick and Bubba talking about it while I was driving to work and it got me all worked up again. The bottom line is this. A baseball league in Conneticut has decided to ban an entire team because their 9 year old pitcher, Jericho Scott, get this...he is too good. Are you kidding me! This thing has made national headlines because a bunch of spineless jellyfish who make up the league board made a bad decision.

Here's why this decision is a problem: Jericho was not asked not to compete because he throws hard and is wild and hits batters. He was not asked to leave the league because he has a character deficiency. He wasn't asked to leave because he's a bad seed. He was asked to leave because he has a talent that overpowers the other kids in the league. He was asked to leave because parents complained that he is too good and intimidates the other players. The lawyer representing the league said this, "“The spirit of the league was community, family, well being, nurturing. It’s an extended family and it’s been disrupted." That's a liberal's way of saying, "No one can be better than anyone else. Let's pull everyone down to the same level in the name of community. Mediocrity is great as long as we all are mediocre together."

This kid is nine years old - the same age as my oldest son Nathan. This is not a league of 5 year olds who are trying to learn the game and where you might could ask the kids who is too good to move up a league. At nine years of age there are always going to be kids who begin to excel at some sports more than others. Just about every little league team in America has to face at least one team with a player who is the best in the league.

What message are we sending to this young man who has been blessed with a talent and the discipline necessary to hone that talent? We don't mind you excelling just as long as it doesn't infringe on my children. Do it somewhere else. In addition, in a world where the spirit of community is celebrated and tolerance is the highest virtue, why can't we be tolerant of one who excels above others? Isn't community after all a celebration of what we have in common despite our differences, despite the fact that some are better athletes and some are better artists?

In addition, what message are we sending to the other players? Do we really believe that we are making things better for them by trying to establish a system where everyone is equal and being exceptional at something is cause for you to be removed? Are we teaching these students that being good enough is good enough?

I am thankful that when George Washington faced the greatest military force in the known world and was vastly outnumbered both in talent and resources that he didn't complain or back down because the British were better.

Last year in the World Series, Mike Lowell, who fought back from a terrible season a few years before as well as cancer, was awarded the Most Outstanding Player award. Are we now going to do away with that and celebrate the Most Normal Player instead?

As a parent of three sons, at least one of them who loves sports as much as I do, I hope I never have to tell my son not to strive for excellence. I hope that my son never has to be punished for being too good. I also hope to teach him that no matter how good the opponent, on the sports field or in life, face him or her with every amount of ability you have and whether you succeed or fail, rest in the knowledge that you faced the best with your best. I hope he never has to celebrate mediocrity in himself or anyone else.


Haines said...

Wow! I hadnt heard this yet! From a former high school coach here speaking, this is laughable! You can't even begin to imagine how many times I have seen or heard problems arise because of players being more talented and the other players and parents complain and cause problems for the coaches and the kid and his parents. This sports society is way different than what it used to be bro!