My son is going to baseball camp this week at the University of South Carolina. Ray Tanner coaches the team there and I doubt you would find anyone, even among his toughest opponents, who would say anything less than complimentary about him. Alexey scored a run and caught a pop fly today. Pretty good for a kid who had never held a baseball bat in his hands eight months ago.
There are so many kids in camp they have them divided into eight squads. Toward the middle of the day, the counselors will pair the squads for scrimmage games. In the one closest to me, one kid hit a ball he obviously thought went foul because he stopped running midway to first base. The counselor said it was a fair ball and by that time the first baseman had retrieved it and stepped on the bag. The hitter was called out.
The ball may not have been foul, but the kid was. He looked all of nine, but he took off his batting helmet, slammed it on the ground, and began arguing with the counselor who promptly benched him for the remainder of the scrimmage.
At the end of the camp, the kid came toward his grandfather who asked why he had acted so poorly. The kid screamed at the man telling him it was a fair ball. When his grandfather said, “Well the umpire called it the other way,” the kid, again screaming at the top of his lungs, said, “Well he’s a LIAR. He’s nothing but a LIAR!” And then, bat bag in hand, he stormed off.
I’m not praying that the kid won’t show up tomorrow. I’m praying that he can't. If there is a shred of discipline in this kid’s family, his ass will be redder than a stop sign and he’ll be pulling belt leather from between his butt cheeks for the next six weeks. Either that or his parents need to take the kid to psychologist for some anger management. Passion for the game is one thing. Disrespect is another.
I’m glad Alexey got to witness it, though. From his wide-eyed look, I could see that he knew this was unacceptable behavior. And as unfortunate as the incident was, I’m glad I saw it, too. It makes me appreciate the wonderful young man and young woman who are my children.
(Okay, that’s too cheesy an ending…I would liked to have seen grandpa beat the kid’s ass from one end of the stadium to the next. I bet Ray Tanner would've liked that, too. I’m just sayin’.)