Back by popular demand, here is Rob Monaco’s piece that was posted earlier today. After he started receiving threats from strangers who didn’t quite appreciate his point of view, we removed it. Within a few minutes, we started getting messages, (LOTS OF THEM) from those of you who loved the post and wanted to share it with other travel ball parents. So, to heck with the haters. This post is sticking around because it resonates with so many people.
To read more player encouragement from Rob, check back here regularly or check out his FB page, The Heart of Youth Baseball.
And, in case you’re wondering, the accompanying picture is from a free stock photography site. We don’t know that coach or any of the kids in it. But I’m sure they’re all really nice people.
You were looking for that ringer. I could see it in your face as you looked through my kid as he did the right thing by shaking your hand and introducing himself that day. He was looking for an opportunity to grow on your team. You were clearly looking for something else making it almost obvious that you weren’t interested as I handed over my $20 for that tryout. I could have easily put my money through a shredder. It was a big waste of time.
You couldn’t fake it, could you? You looked past my son finding everything wrong about his height, size and strength. He didn’t notice any of your behavior, but I did and it was disappointing. My kid did everything right in that tryout, now almost 16 months ago. He hit well, he fielded only missing a few bad hops, and most of all, he made sure he was looking you in the eyes when he shook hands again after that tryout. But you didn’t, and that’s when I knew that my kid wouldn’t get a fair shot.
Hey, it doesn’t matter now. When he tried out for some other teams, there was one particular group of coaches that weren’t looking for the ‘stud’ my kid wasn’t. They were looking for a hard worker. They were looking for a kind, determined kid who loved the game. They liked the way he moved to the ball. They appreciated how he could spray the field. And while they saw some flaws, they had one thing in mind; they knew they would help improve his skill. They saw a ballplayer through a ball of clay, and so, they “took a chance” as some would say. And these days, it’s paid off 100%.
There is no other way of saying this, and so I’ll just say it. Thank you. Thank you for not wasting my kid’s time and taking him on your team so you could ignore him and keep him on your bench while your taller, much stronger players didn’t do much better anyway. Thank you for giving him a chip on his shoulder so the next time he practiced on the field, he was more determined and hungrier to get better as a ballplayer. Thank you for leaving him along and allowing him to grow as a person of character and strength.
As a parent, you never want to see your kid’s dreams crushed. At the same time, you want them to work toward their goals. The balance is tricky, but you hope to guide them in a way that they stay strong, even on those disappointing days. Luckily for him, he grew not playing for you.
He went through the “tryout” process. It’s hard, it’s grueling, it’s sometimes devastating and it’s always nerve-racking. But the way I see it, if a kid wants to give it a shot and tryout on your team, you best give every kid that shows up the utmost respect and attention you can, despite how big they are, despite what you think they can offer before they offer it. Size does not matter… heart does. But you never gave him a chance, and so, you never saw it. Or maybe you did, but just too late…
You met my son again this past summer, but you had no idea. He had two hits off your stud that day and his team beat yours. My son showed up ready, knowing exactly who they were playing that day. You didn’t even recognize him. But in the end he got his due. And for him, that’s what matters. That’s his tryout, his World Series… his motivation.
You can coach any way you want, sir. I really don’t care. What I do care about is what you do to kids when they give their time and respect to a team they want to be a part of. It’s not about wins all the time. Sometimes it’s about growth… but you didn’t know that 16 months ago, and to be honest, I’m not sure you ever will.
No matter, my kid got what he wanted…the last word.
Thank you for that.