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What ever happened to the good ole days

Y JOE JOE WRIGHT
joejoe.wright@cordeledispatch.com

Get the picture now it is September 4, 1975. Football season is about to kick off at the recreation department I am in my last year. Baseball season ended for all of us kids about 6 weeks ago. Let me say that again baseball ended for all us kids about 6 weeks ago. It is now football season!! We played football from around the first of September till nearly Thanksgiving. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around Basketball practice was starting up and that would keep us all busy till mid February. By March 1st we were practicing baseball again and the 1st games would start up middle of March. Then we would play on into June and all-stars into July.It has now been a full year.
Each sport had it’s own span of time in a calendar year about 3 and half months for each or close to it. Now we have 9 year old little boys playing baseball from February till the first of December. They may take a week or two for vacation but there are teams playing nearly year round. On top of that if they are not playing they are taking hitting or pitching lessons.
This means that their are a substantial number of boys and girls in softball playing or practicing baseball/softball 49 out of 52 weeks.
I have spent many years associated with travel baseball/softball, I have directed and officiated thousands of games, yes thousands of games that’s not a miss print. Here is what I have learned. Baseball/softball is an expensive sport I have seen untold hundreds of people fork out thousnads upon thousands of dollars every year to sit at a ball park all weekend long from sun up till sun down watching ball in 100 degree weather and hotter and 25 degree weather and colder. Some of them with one little thought in the back of their minds my son is going to be the next Chipper Jones,  NOT going to happen. Let me say that NOT ALL parents have that thought and  many have no delusions at all they just love being with their kid having fun. These are the parents you usually don’t get much grief from in a tournament, they are cool, laid back not very up tight. Then you have the  parents who believe “little Johnny” is better than everyone  and that all umpires are idiots and should be strung after the game. They think that their team lost because of the umpire or won in spight of him and there is no middle ground. People I have witnessed hundreds upon hundreds of these, believe me I know exactly what I am talking about, it is an awful event to witness. Did I forget all  the  of children having Tommy John surgery, this is rather new in the childhood arena ever since baseball went year round. I have witnessed people stress their family budgets to the point of Bankruptcy solely because they intend to see their kid be the best baseball player on earth. Are you kidding me!
This brings us back to the very poor job we Baby Boomers did of raising children in general. The Millennial generation especially the 1990’s group have absolutely no conception of money and hearing the word no. My generation has cheated the world by producing and introducing to the human race a generation of takers. We gave to them with no thought of the consequences of giving someone any thing they want. BIG MISTAKE!
Overall the quality of the baseball teams in the state of Georgia are better. At least better than when I was  in high school but at what cost? I understand why some teenagers specialize when they get to high school, I don’t agree with  all the time   but I can understand it. What about children 7 to 15 years old should they specialize in one sport. Should a family roll the dice and put themselves into financial hardship in the hope that their child can beat the odds of one billion to one and make it to the Major leagues. I am not here to judge what one family does for their child in the sports arena, it really isn’t any of my business. However, when myself or someone else has to listen to you whine about being broke all the time well you made it my business.
I remember with a fondness my childhood playing football, baseball and basketball as I got to high school my skill level in Basketball forced me off the court. But what I mostly recall is that Spring/Summer meant baseball, Fall meant Football and Winter meant Basketball. I sure do miss those days. I welcome your comments!joe joe