This is what I wish I could have said........
I am writing to give feed back. This is meant to be constructive and to let you know what Coulter's experience has been in baseball this year.
First off I want to say that I greatly appreciate your skills and dedication to the boys and your team. I am also grateful to Brock and Chris. I know that it takes a great deal of dedication, time and patience. I agree that the kids need to be responsible for their gear, be on time (usually not Coulter's fault) and pay attention when they are at practice or a game. They need to respect the fact that you are the coach and that you are giving them your time.
Coulter has only been playing baseball for a year. Last season was his first. I realize that he doesn't have the skill set that some of the other boys do....yet. I asked him a few weeks ago, "Coulter, is is hard not starting every time?" God bless him, he said, "Well mom, there are too many guys and not everyone can play at the same time." I was very proud of him for having such a positive attitude. My heart broke a little bit for him each time he was on the bench. Game after game Coulter was on the bench and batted 12th out of 12. Again, I realize he isn't the best player but I thought this league was for learning. It is very unfortunate that a 9 year old boy's baseball career could be over because he didn't get a chance to play.
9 year olds are still learning their basic skills in many things including baseball. This isn't a Blue Thunder issue, I see this issue as it runs through the entire system. When I was a kid no one really played organized sports until 6th grade. I know that was a very long time ago but by the age of 12 one has better basic skills and controll of their limbs. I know this doesn't help but what I am getting at is, most of them (the boys) are just learning how to controll their bodies. Throwing, catching and hitting are fairly complicated endeavors. I believe Coulter will figure it out and be a good athlete but he's just not there yet. I was disappointed to hear that one of the coaches said, "Maybe baseball just isn't Coulter's thing."
Coulter was teased in the dugout endlessly. I am not sure what the relationship is between the other players is but whatever it was, it was apparent that they were buddies and Coulter was not their buddy, not anyone's buddy. Again, it was hard to watch. Riley pushed Coulter's stuff off of the bench and onto the ground almost every time Coulter set his stuff down. I saw this happen over and over again. I probably should have said something to you but there was usually a coach or parent in the dugout. I would think that was their job to make sure things were going smoothly. That did not happen.
I didn't stick around for practice but it doesn't seem like that was much more fun than the games for Coulter. He said that when he missed the ball Brock would just yell for him to "try harder." He was trying as hard as he was capable and 9 year olds are not motivated by yelling.
When I asked Coulter what was best about baseball he said, "That hit I got that one time." When I asked him what was the worst thing he said, "That I had to bat last every time." Why in the world he had to bat last every time is beyond me. That I am quite frustrated with. I don't believe it would have made much if any difference to the outcomes of the games and it sent a message to Coulter every time that, "You aren't good enough to bat anywhere but last." Additionally, I didn't find the skill level of the other players to be so superior. Coulter could just as easily miss a ball at 2nd as any of the other kids. Let's be honest, none of those kids are AAA material. They missed throws and catches 95% of the time. That is not a judgement, that is an easy observation. And the fact that Coulter missed more in practice than the other kids shouldn't have precluded him from missing throws and catches in a game, just like the other kids did.
I played highly competitive softball in high school. I was first base all state and had the highest batting average in the state tournament my junior and senior years. I had many scholarships offered to me for college. I tell you this because I know softball / baseball. I even signed up to be a coach this year but never heard back from anyone. Actually I was quite disappointed. Again, this isn't your issue, I am just saying this because I am willing to assist and I recognize that Coulter needs to work on his game. I am also telling you this because I do have the skills to back up my assessment of various situations.
I just returned from watching Coulter play baseball with his brother's farm team. We asked the other coach if it was OK to have an older kid play and he agreed. Coulter hit, played out field and then played 3rd base where he stopped a grounder and made the play at 3rd. Yep, he did it. After the game he was glowing. He had a great time, the kids were all having fun and everyone got to play. The parents were supportive of all the kids (on both teams). It was the most fun I have had at a game this season. In talking to these parents about what is coming (Minors) none of them are looking forward to it. They want their kids to have fun.
Bob and I have talked and are trying to figure out how to let him play at a level that is comfortable for him, that is fun and way less competitive. I talked to the other farm parents and none of them are looking forward to the minors. I see two issues. First, there is WAY too much of a time commitment. I didn't do anything (other than school) for 6-8 hours per week when I was a kid. Won't this burn them out? My kids are usually in bed by 8:30. Recently we have been eating dinner at 8 because I insist that we eat together. Second, they are little boys with little boy skills. I believe they should have less emphasis on skill level and more emphasis on fun, cooperation, good sportsmanship and supporting your team members. Coulter did not feel welcome, supported or liked by his team members. He's a pretty affable kid, he has lots of friends and wants nothing more than to have fun. I don't think that is too much to ask for a 9 year old boy who is playing on a little league team.
I am unsure about what is going to happen with Coulter and baseball. He wants to play but was sick of being mistreated by the boys, he was sick of being last in the batting order and finally he was sick of being on the bench. I can't blame him. He dedicated just as much time this season as the other players but only played 1/4 of the time they did.
And while I am at it..... Most of the parents were just as cold. I am pretty easy to get along with and hardly anyone acknowledged that I was even alive. I tried to be friendly but to no avail. I even brought coffee for all the parents of BOTH teams last Saturday and again, hardly anyone said thanks. Perhaps Coulter didn't have any buddies because the kids were like the parents. At this point I am so relieved to be done but mostly glad that Coulter's suffering is over. He is such a happy kid it was very hard to see him so down.
Change is coming because these types of situations can't continue.
And this is the letter I did send.... toned down for sure......