My first book

i think i’ve decided what my first book is going to be about.

and i can confidently tell you it is not going to be a best seller.

here’s why:   the people who need to read the book,  won’t.   people  who know people who should read the book will probably be too intimidated to suggest they buy it.   and people who would  want to read it  are a pretty small group.

i think i want to write a book to parents of young athletes.

tonight i went to two baseball games.   the first one involved the 15-year old team that corey coaches.   after that one was over,  i drove over to where chris was umpiring a game between two 17 and under teams.   nothing really happened at either of the games…but i had about four hours to sit and reminisce of my days when my boys were playing.

as a parent of young athletes,  i saw it all…felt it all…experienced it all…and lived to tell about it!   i’ve had my heart broken.   i’ve felt my sons were treated unfairly.   i’ve seen my boys through rose-colored glasses.   i’ve even written an email to a coach  (that i immediately followed up with another one…of apology.)   i’ve watched my boys cry at their perceived failures.   i’ve listened to them contemplate quitting.

i’ve bit my tongue.   i’ve swallowed my own pride.   i’ve heard the careless criticisms of other parents directed at my boys.   i’ve seen my boys’ dreams crushed.   i’ve watched them struggle to reach their potential.   i’ve watched other boys succeed at my boys’ expense.   i coached both of them a little.   i walked away and let others coach them.   some good coaches.   some not so good coaches.   a couple of really bad coaches.

don’t get me wrong.   i could fill pages of the great memories…the successes…the moments of ecstasy…the achievement of goals…and the sweetness of reward.   i won’t bore you,  but if you ask me about it,  you better be sitting down!

but here’s where i’m at.   with the exception of a handful of prima-donna,  elite,  over-the-top gifted child prodigies,  my boys had the same kind of childhood athletic experiences that most every other kid had.   good.  bad.   and everything in-between.

and i guess that’s the point.   there are similar paths that kids walk.   and there are similar paths that parents walk.   and i think i’d like to help.   and i think i have a lot of good things to say to parents.

but here’s a couple of  questions for you:   have you learned any lessons you’d like to pass on?   do you have anything you’d like parents to know? i’d like to hear from you.


14 thoughts on “My first book

  1. Funny you wrote this as I was thinking about the life of a parent who’s child plays sports. Kyle has been in the process of learning some really hard lessons about baseball this year. He has learned just how horribly humbling the game can be. He learned that not everyone in his life is going to extol his greatness. He has learned that some times you are going to fail and someone is going to be there to point it out to you. His struggles changed him. He lost his confidence not only in baseball but in life. He felt he was inadequate. He felt that he didn’t deserve to be there. He felt he wasn’t good enough.

    Then one day a friend of mine took about 20 minutes out of his busy life. He didn’t have to. He wanted to. Kyle had hit with him I don’t know how many times. But this time was different. He watched his swing and told him some things to change that all of us had already told him. He told him that he was good enough just like all of us had already told him. He told him there was a reason he was asked to play for one of the top select teams in Dallas just like we had. But it was different. He listened. From that day it changed. Kyle is killing the ball and is playing lights out at third base. There is no more driving home and him thinking he sucks. Baseball is fun again. As we rode home last night we talked about slumps. About how in baseball and in life you are going to hit bad stretches but you have to work through them because the streaks are way better! My son learned just how important confidence is and I learned just how much 20 minutes of your life can positively effect someone’s life.

  2. This IS a book that is needed. Maybe we could write it together. Growing up athletes is an interesting and perplexing privilege I’m finding. All the lessons of life that come with losing, winning, all while dealing with referees, unqualified coaches, and over-demanding parents. It’s amazing our kids still love to play.

    For me, the sporting endeavors of my kids gives them the opportunity to dream. Yes, they dream of college scholarships and professional stardom. Yes, the chances of this becoming their reality are small. But the last thing I ever want them to lose is an imagination of what could be. “Why not?” is the phrase often echoed in our home. It might be that the pursuit of dreams is as valuable as the end itself.

    Not too mention that my kids are fit and healthy – not one of those obese statistics we hear about all the time. They don’t need the President challenging them to play outside for 60 minutes a day. That’s what a ball can do.

  3. Personally, Mike I’ve thought for about a year now that your Marriage Tuesdays would compile nicely into a book.

  4. If I wrote a book, the title would be:

    Parents, the need to be invisible.

    Chapter 1
    Buy some duct tape and put it over your mouth.

    Sure kids need instruction. I’m not stupid. They just need parents to cheer.

    I watched my daughter yesterday play basketball with some friends. They had a blast.
    No Parents around to yell at them to get in place, pass the ball, drink some water, kiss their wounds.
    It was just putting a ball in a hoop. The basics of competition. So when Parents Add Money to the mix for Uniforms, Leagues, travel, why do we sometimes think that it give us the right to be the know-it-all at what ever sport it is your kid competes in? It doesn’t.

    Don’t try to create or live your glory days through your kids. Enjoy your kids competition, whatever it may be.

  5. My kids have been out of organized sports for over 10 years and time has a way of putting it in perspective. They were fortunate to play on some great teams, won state championships, partial college scholarships, etc., but they were also on teams where they experienced unfairness and the “agony of defeat” as well. My kids played volleyball, both setters and it was like a slice of life… kind of lab in which they learned to set goals, to be the best they could be, to get up when they fell down, to contribute to a team, to be leaders, to deal with hurt and injury, to learn life isn’t fair, etc. That has translated well into life for them both. I learned I could encourage, teach, cheer and be there for them, but at the same time, I couldn’t spare them the hurts that come with sports and life experiences.

  6. I am guessing all of us who replied to this blog have children that were somewhat successful.
    So, I am wonder if anyone would man up and explain what it’s like to be a parent of the eternal bench warmer? What is the mindset of watching your kid ride the bench over and over again. Getting picked last outside, whatever. I have 2 kiddos. The oldest has some dexterity. The youngest, maybe not so much. I may be watching French horn recitals. I am cool with that. Just no Jazz choir like his daddy did.

  7. I’ll man up!

    Kyle has always been the best player on every team he has ever played on. Every coach he has ever had absolutely loved him. Not only was he a really good player he is just a good kid. He sits in the dugout quietly. Never climbing the fence, having bat fights or any of the other bs that goes on in an 8 year old dugout. This year has been different. His coach thought because of his struggles that he wasn’t a good player. He pulled him from positions in the middle of innings, dropped him in the lineup and really rode him pretty hard (He is that way with other kids but bad coaching techniques could be a whole other book). It was hard for ME. This is my kid. My kid that every coach he has ever played for loved…. now this guy is treating him like he is David stinking Eckstein. It didn’t matter that he was that way with the other 11 boys because Kyle had always been different. It was an adjustment. I don’t fool myself that everyone is going to love my kids. Some won’t and that is their loss but its not an easy pill to swallow when its right in front of you.

  8. whoa, steinbrenner…that’s theee san diego padre’s david “stinking” eckstein you’re talking about!

  9. If I wrote a book it’d be called “Why Today’s Parents Should Beat Their Children More”

    I can’t wait to beat my children.

  10. This is very much needed indeed Mike. I loved baseball as a kid, my dream was to play left field for the Amazin Mets!!!! (growing up in Jersey helped foster that lol) I played little league and was promoted to the majors because the coaches thought my talent level was good enough, even though i was 2 years younger than that level. When i went to try out a few kids who did not get pused to the majors heckled me the whole time and my confidence was already shaky. I ended up quitting because i thought I would fail. My dad died when i was 8 so i did not have him to toughen me to such things. A book like this would have been very helpful then, even for my mom to read and learn from as well. Just wanted to share a lil Mike, hopefully you will get the opportunity to write this book. How did Piazza end up as a Padre???

  11. As a teacher, the academic version of the “crazy sports parent” is quite possibly the most insane phenomenon in the world. Talk about having to hold your tongue in a parent conference.

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