To the editor:
A 9-year-old boy, eager to play baseball, signed up to play in the Mingo Junction youth baseball program for the 2012 season. The fee was paid, and equipment was purchased. When practices were scheduled, he was always 30 minutes early. The coach more often than not would be late.
Granted, some boys have fathers who work and coach them in their free time - they want them to shine. In today's world that is not always the case. Every child does not have that advantage, but that does not make them less worthy of the attention and coaching of the males who choose to take on these teams. Sadly, this was the experience of this boy.
Placed in the outfield, along with the other eager players, they stood and stood, with little attention from any of the coaches who were working with the stars, most of whom were their own sons. Even in the dugout, inappropriate remarks were made about the abilities of some of the less-gifted youngsters. These remarks were not only insulting, but were demeaning to youth of such a vulnerable age.
Safety was another concern when these boys were engaged in a scrimmage against boys twice their size and quite more seasoned than these young players. On a few occasions boys from other teams were put into the lineup, not members of this team, and this 9-year-old was made to sit out.
The last straw came at a practice when one half of the stars did not show up and the coach worked with the infield. When they were done practicing, the infield packed up and left along with the coach, leaving one other coach to work briefly with the outfield. This is when the 9-year-old came from the field begging not to have to play anymore.
The rule is when you start something you have to follow through, but when you destroy the confidence and self-esteem of a 9-year-old due to a lack of leadership, encouragement and time management, it truly is time to call it quits.