Tuesday, August 23, 2011



How do all these kids playing in the Little League World Series get out of school to play? It’s hard for me to believe the educators would go along with something like this.


Georgia is one of a few states that go back to school so early. Most wait until after Labor Day. When we were in Virginia, our friend’s kids were still in school on June ninth.

Many communities seem to rally behind their team’s success, and the schools would appear to be spoiled sports if they don’t fall in line. Since many of the teams are from smaller towns (Warner Robbins, Kentucky, Ohio, etc) it’s probably not as big of a deal. ESPN would never report level-headed opposition to such an “all-American” event.

This country puts athletics far ahead of education. ESPN lets the nation know what each player’s favorite program is (usually SportsCenter). Their favorite athlete is invariably whoever the most popular player is. This year it will be Robinson Cano, David Ortiz, and Shawn Kemp.

Most of the teams in Williamsport practice 5-6 days per week, year ’round. For these players school has always taken a back seat to sports! But if the LLWS conflicted with school, ESPN could always move it up a week or two.

This overemphasis shows up when many of the baseball dads I know (even homeschool dads) can’t believe Will isn’t playing baseball all year, gunning for a (partial) college scholarship, where he’ll have to spend 40-plus hours per week on baseball, squeezing in his studies whenever he can.

Family Values have taken a back seat in the United States. How often do you think these kids sit down for supper at night with their entire family? The LLWS is big business for ESPN and the Little League Baseball Corporation. Why else would Cal Ripken Baseball and the Perfect Game Corporation create these competing, made for TV championships?

Our country places SPORTS over education. Look at three local families: the Heywards, McCanns, and Francoeurs. Both of Frenchy’s parents teach, yet they drove their son all over the southeast to play ball. To be fair, there are many families who aren’t into sports at all.

The family summer vacations of old would never work these days. Baseball (or basketball, soccer, tennis, dance, or even football and cheerleading) take up almost every weekend of the summer. So “vacations” are spent traveling to distant “sports complexes” (often to face the same teams they played back home). Even on the coast, not much beach time is built in. Pity the brothers and sisters and mothers. Fortunately, there are so many tournaments around Atlanta that a local team doesn’t HAVE to travel (but they do). But their summer calendar is still full. Families love it, or drop out.

Many working parents hate the way public school systems add all these teacher work days, and week-long fall breaks and winter breaks. Churches build choir and mission trips into these weeks, forcing private school and homeschool families to either miss class or the trip.

I’ve been drinking lots of flavored water lately as well. C fixed chili Monday night…spicier than usual.

M had his first baseball practice, and didn’t do too bad. From right field he threw out the fastest runner on the team at first base, a kid who’d played at East Cobb. Also threw out a lefthanded batter, who wasn’t a slowpoke. Reached base on his at bat, on a grounder up the middle. He enjoyed seeing three old teammates, plus another longtime player he knew. Typical rec team, but having the coach’s 14-year-old fast-pitch softball playing daughter will be interesting. She will embarrass a few boys this fall. I pitched BP to half the team, and helped with infield/outfield practice.

When Venters put two runners on in the ninth, I stayed up to make sure he got out of the jam.

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