DH just called me at work and it seems our hamster has some blood around her back end. Darla was fine last night when I was playing with her, and this morning she seemed fine. But around noon he noticed some blood droplets scattered around so he took her out to check her over. I have fingers crossed that it's just constiipation and not something too serious. (I know Weston has been giving her treats on his own now that he can work the latch on her habitat!) Thankfully we were just talking with Tiven again the other day about the life span of a hamster, and about how Darla's getting up there, so if it turns out bad it hopefully won't be too much of a shock for her. Keep some good thoughts for Darla, please?
David Letterman is retiring. Such great memories of watching him over the past thirty-two years!
So i'm so frustrated and bothered i need to just vent about it. Warning, it will probably be long.
So Aodhan has been playing little league this year. He is 9 years old this year, which is the first year you can play little league. Last year, his first year playing ball ever, he played farm league. His coach last year reached out to me via email during the season and said he was really impressed with how well Aodhan was doing conisdering it was the first time he had ever played. He thought he was very good.
So this year he tries out for little league and gets put on a minor league team (almost all 9 YOs get put on a minor league team). I've really liked his coach. From the beginning he's been very upbeat, very positive, gives great instruction and has been teaching the kids a lot. He's also pretty serious, and you can tell he wants to create an effective and competitive team. This year is kind of the first year where things start getting more serious. They focus less on letting every kid play every position and more on finding the best places for kids to play...but still giving them chances to try several things out.
Well Aodhan started out at the first game playing short stop. He had a pretty good game. I think he was 2 for 3 for the day and he made an awesome catch in the field. It seemed that his performance that day caught the coach's eye. He called me the next day and asked if Aodhan would want to play in these extra Sunday games made up of 9 and 10 year olds from both the minors and majors. Aodhan was really excited about it and we went to the first game.
This league was definitely tougher. He struck out a couple of times...at least one of them looking. He played left field and didn't have too many opportunities to field the ball.
Week after that, i can't remember what really happened. I know he stopped swinging and struck out looking a few times.
Last week, coach focused on encouraging him to be more aggressive at the plate. Which Aodhan responded to, he swung more, but was still striking out a lot, not looking. I guess he had been practicing pitching during practice and coached put him in to pitch one game last week. This was the first time he had ever pitched in a game, he was pretty jittery and he did not do so well. Coach wasn't hard on him, told him it was okay and reassured him he'd get another chance.
So, the next several games, Aodhan has either started as a sub, or was subbed out half way through each game. He's played only left or right field in each game. He's batted 9th or 10th (Everyone gets to bat even if you aren't in the field) In this league, not very much makes it out to the outfielders really...it can be very boring. A few times the games had been cut short due to lack of daylight. So we are talking about 3 games or so where he played about 3 innings in the outfield and got up to bat once, maybe twice.
Also two of those Sunday games went by and Aodhan was not called back to play on either of those days.
After last night's game i was worried that Aodhan might have been kind of down about all of it, but he still seemed all right. Leaving the games in a good mood, smile on his face, playing with his teammates etc. I was starting to get irritated, but was very deliberate about hiding it as I didn't want my own emotions affecting his. Well after last nights game the coach told the kids that they were going to switch up the positions a little in tomorrows(which was today) game to get other people used to playing in other spots. I think Aodhan was very hopeful that that meant he'd get to play infield.
Come today. Aodhan is put in left field in the beginning of the game and is batting 9th. He came over to me and said kind of exasperated "I'm in left field again". I tried my best to sound upbeat...told him it was alright and play hard no matter what position you play in. One ball actually did get passed the shortstop and Aodhan fielded it very well. Well half way through the game, the shortstop gets hurt, rolls his ankle a little and comes out. At this point, coach tells Aodhan to take his place. Aodhan takes the shortstop position and i can tell he was happy to be there. But before the inning actually starts, coach changes his mind i guess and shuffled everyone around...he put someone else in left filed, he puts another kid at shortstop and puts Aodhan on the bench.
Aodhan was up to bat twice this game. Walked the first time. Second at bat was very good, he swung at the ones he should have, didn't when he shouldn't have. He made good solid contact on 2 balls and 2 strikes, but it was picked up by the second baseman and he was thrown out at first. Had it not been the last out, he would have advanced a runner to third. All in all, not a bad up skill-wise.
Anyway the game got very close and very exciting in the last few innings. His team had an in the park home run with bases loaded...and the other team had an exciting come back last inning...i actually don't know what the final score was. I think it either ended as a tie or we won by one. Since Aodhan was subbed out, he watched most of it from the sidelines.
You could tell when the game was over and the coach was talking to them, telling them all how well they played and that he was proud of them that Aodhan was upset. He walked off the field unhappy. I tried to talk to him about it. He said he was upset because the game was boring, and he hardly got to do anything. I was upbeat and told him that he played really well today. He fielded the ball well and had two solid at-bats. But he really wasn't buying any of it. He was very down. I tried to talk it up a bit in the car but he was unresponsive so i just let it go. When we got home he went up to his room and cried.
Really I'm very heartbroken for him. I'm pretty certain he thinks his coach doesn't like him or doesn't think he's very good. Now Aodhan is not a BAD baseball player for his age. Actually I think he's pretty good. He has had a batting slump, but he fields pretty well. He listens to the coach well, is very responsive to training and teaching...works hard and doesn't get distracted. You can see him improve with instruction. There are definitely kids that are better than him on the team..but he is a GOOD player and it really kills me see him upset about this, and possibly thinking that the coach doesn't like him.
I told him again that he had a really good game today and i was proud of him. I told him that I think his coach thinks he is a good player and just keep giving it 100% each game and he will get his chance. I told him that I think his coach might not be good at keeping track of where he has put each person each game so that he shouldn't take it personally.
But admittedly that last part was a lie...i don't think coach has any trouble remembering, i was just trying to make Aodhan feel better. I've actually been wondering, before Aodhan ever seemed to wonder, what happened and why it changed so much. I don't want to be 'that' mom...but inside i guess I am that mom.
I really wish the coach knew how Aodhan was feeling right now. I wish he knew how much Aodhan needs a boost of confidence at this time and reassurance that his coach values him. I'm sure he doesn't know at all. I want him to put him in the infield. I think it will totally crush him if he doesn't get to the next game. And i mean, I know it gets more serious at this point...but they are still just 9 year olds. I don't want Aodhan to come out of this season thinking baseball isn't fun just because of some choices his coach made. Only because i know with a different experience, he could really get into it and be really good at it.
I feel really helpless in this situation and there is just something about watching someones decisions affect your child like that that really kills me. And i want to give the coach the benefit of the doubt. I want to believe he's really good...because in SOOO many ways he has been really great. But its getting harder and harder for me as this season goes on.
If you read all of this thanks. I know a sports team/extra curricular activity may not seem worth such a lengthy post or so much blabbering stress but with the role these types of activities play in my kids experiences at this age, its hard not be to be so invested.
Last edited by KimPossible; 05-23-2013 at 07:59 AM.
Woo hoo Laurie!! That sounds very promising!
So tomorrow dh and I are hitting our 15th anniversary...it's hard to believe how quickly it's gone by! We don't have any big plans...probably just going out for dinner this weekend and maybe a movie
Carolyn - 37
Wife to Chad - 39
Mom to Tom - 15
Nathan - 10
I get it Kim. Sorry that Aodhan is feeling down -- and you are hurting for him. Sports at that particular age does seem to shift to become more competitive (even within so-called REC leagues!) Honestly, while I know kids are competitive -- some of the coaches can take it to an extreme. Your coach sounds like he lands somewhere in the middle but leaning a bit heavily in some areas for that focus on the win no matter the cost.
I started to write to share more of a background for this statement, but this will be long enough. You can encourage Aodhan maybe to approach the coach directly. Tell him that he enjoyed playing in-field and having the opportunity to play in the Sunday games. Share that he knows he needs to improve (and YOU tell Aodhan that is true for EVERYONE -- anyone saying they can't use improvement is delusional!) Have him ask the coach what kind of drills can he focus on to help him improve in the skills he is looking for.
What this can do is #1)allow his coach to acknowledge Aodhan's interest in learning and improving to the level that he seems to be looking for. (YES -- he should see this through the qualities that you pointed out -- paying attn, following instructions, following through no matter what is asked, and his enthusiasm... but your coach seems to have forgotten where HE came from.)
#2)It should awaken the coach to reevaluate where Aodhan's skill level is now -- to be able to recommend things that WILL help him in the future... whether with this coach or later on. You shared that he was good at instructing. Have Aodhan tap that!
#3)You can point out #2 above to Aodhan. While yes it may not be great if he does not get a better chance to play in the positions he wants with this team -- stress that the coach IS good at instructing and he WILL walk away with more knowledge and skill. (Frankly, some seasons simply are tough but you can choose to insure you walk out with something positive!)
Some other ideas:
1)Take him to a batting cage and let him just have fun.
2)Have him watch some professional players in the positions he is interested in. Do you have a local league (lower "A" or "AA" one vs. the highest triple "AAA"?) Some you can have an opportunity to meet with the players and talk with them. I love the farm leagues for that purpose. (It is really cool when they later move up and you get to see them on your tv playing!
3)Talk about it honestly -- esp. after the season. You can share what you (both) liked / disliked about this particular coach and what you would like to look for in the future.
4)Finally - if he is interested in playing "just for fun" during the summer (if this ends in time) -- maybe explore a rec league like one through the local YMCA? With most players having similar experiences to what you described, it may simply be the need for more experience playing the game as a part of a team to help build confidence.
Either way -- that final FINAL alternative is to have us all show up at the next little league practice to TALK with the coach.
Hope Darla is doing better!? Def sending some positive thoughts your way.
Laurie -- *fingers crossed!* It is great to still be able to be considered!
Still no word from Fuchsia? I can try to reach out via email. Still keeping them in thoughts and prayers.
Kim, I totally agree with Missy. Could be a great life skill now for Aodhan to learn to advocate for himself too. I would also see if you can get him to a batting cage so he can have some fun and maybe get over his funk with batting. I had a really bad softball game my freshmen year of high school and I can really remember being totally freaked out to get back up to bat, it was making my hitting really suck. Fortunately my dad noticed and suggested a game of home run derby and during that time I remembered that I loved batting and the next game I did well.
Molly, Morgan, Mia and Carson
Ugh Kim that made my stomach hurt a little for you, just because I know how badly you just want to make this all *good* for for him but how hard it must be to know just what to do.
Mine are still younger, so I admit that my first instinct is to talk to the coach or shoot him an email myself. Not to be that overbearing parent AT ALL.....but because I'm just used to parenting a 6 year old. I'm not yet able to envision a child who can advocate for himself. Missy's advice seems wise.....but really really hard for a 9 year old to do. Then again, I don't really know what a 9 year old is capable of never having had one yet!
I tend to lean more towards Lisa's advice of some fun non threatening or playful practice like a home run derby or something. Something to shake the yips out without even realizing your intent like batting cage play or signing up for another league might ~ those things may create additional pressure and lead to him feeling increased failure or discontent if they don't lead to immediate performance bettering. Either way I hope that you figure it out ~ all this stuff makes me nervous as it comes down the line ~ I know kids have such tender hearts at this age and I get sad at the thought of seeing them sidelined or to see them have hurt feelings/confused/etc.
Hows Darla, Stacey?
Happy Anniversary, Carolyn!
I put off renting a tent for too long and they are all taken. Procrastination fail. I guess I will be hoping for good weather on June 1. In other news we found out this week that a school that DD had been on a wait list opened up with a position for her, we were shocked as it had been extremely unlikely that she would get in. This means that she will be going full day in the fall rather than half day. This means that I'm losing two kids to full day school in the fall for the first time, I'm a little emotional about it! My little guy (who will be three) will also be going three mornings/week.
Melissa - I missed you in the multiquote, but good luck with having them all the kids in school. I know that it is hard to see them all grow up so fast!
Thanks all for the great advice mamas. It helps to have some outside advice and ideas.
Melissa, I felt the way you did. My gut was telling me "I have to contact the coach, i have to tell him...he needs to know" Had i just gone with my emotions last night, i would have definitely fired off an email. But then i tell myself that handling it that way could go really badly. Missy/Lisa, I like the idea of having him advocate for himself but i can tell you that it will be very hard for him, like Melissa said. He speaks up enough to ask if he can play in certain positions, but its always in the heat of the moment and most likely after the decisions probably have been made. Personality wise, he would have a much harder time having a longer one on one conversation with coach (by longer i mean a whole 5 minutes longer) But getting the coach aside long enough so that he is actually listening and say "I really want to play infield, what can i do or work on to improve"....I definitely could see him struggling to do that. I will still suggest it to him. I don't think they have a pracitce between now and his next game due to the holiday weekend.
I think I might find some time to take him to the batting cages, but not with the message of working on anything. Just having fun, he would actually enjoy it, probably without thinking of it as any sort of skill based exercise. Missy, there is a minor league team down in Portland...i'd love to go to a game. It would be a day trip for us but very doable.
For the most part watching them grow has been such an amazing experience. Really when they start getting close to and into those double digits, the transformation is amazing to me. I was watching Emma at the end of a rehearsal with the choir director. He is doing a special Sunday mass with a handful of the choir students who play musical instruments. Emma is playing her clarinet...and just watching her during this rehearsal...she looked amazingly grown up to me, and i started mulling over all the wonderful talents she has and who i see her shaping into and i practically burst into tears right there..just during a regular old rehearsal. Just a nice balance to the stresses, like the baseball thing, that come along with them growing.
Melis, thats also great about the school! Having them go off, especially to a full day is such a transition. I bet your little guy will love the one on one time on those days he's home with you alone!
Carolyn...15 years! Congrats to you.
And last but not least....hoping Darla the hampster is doing all right today!
That sounds so hard Kim. It almost sounds like the coach over estimated his skill level, and then was disappointed by how Aodhan actually did. Now he is not looking at his skill level with an open mind, but with his preconceived notions. I know others have given a lot of advice on Aodhan advocating for himself, but I dont think it would hurt, if he is unable to do so, for you to ask the coach the same question. Just say that Aodhan really wants to play inner field and you were both wondering if there were any particular skills or drills he could work on to get there. I would make sure Aodhan is there when you ask so that he can see an example of how he could advocate for himself. Alternatively, get him to ask, but offer to go with him if he is shy. Granted DD is only 6, but she is very shy about sticking up for herself, so I often go with her and hold her hand, but make her do the talking. I will even give her the words to say, or talk to her, practice them, before hand. I think it is a very good skill to help them develop. You can also help by getting him to practice early (if the coach is too) or hanging back a little late until more kids are gone so he doesnt have a huge audience to his request.
Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)