Baseball or no baseball?

alldogsloverJanuary 3, 2007

Our boys (7, 8, and 10) have decided they no longer want to play baseball. This after they were very excited at the beginning, after Dad signed up to coach two of them, after a previous season filled with home runs.

I have never approved of parents that have forced their children to do sports. At the same time, we can't always let our children do only the things they want to do (if it were up to them, Xbox and Playstation would be all there is to it!).

And then there is the fact that their father has an incredibly busy schedule, and the baseball field is a time he treasures with his boys.

What do you think?

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coolmama

Well,what are your kids reasons for not wanting to play? How did all of them decide they didnt want to?
I can understand how important this is to your husband,but if the kids really dont want to,then you should probably let them quit or they could end up resenting dad for it.
Do they want to try something else? Maybe you should tell them that if they quit you'd want them to do something else so they dont have too much free time on their hands.I know what you mean about the video games!!!
Maybe once they know they wont be sitting at home enjoying the video games they will change their minds.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 4:56PM
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alldogslover

CoolMama, they don't because they say they don't like it anymore. One of them said he wants his weekends to himself (uhm, sounds like he got that one somewhere...). The oldest said that he could be "talked into it". The other two follow ANYTHING the oldest does.

You see, I remember being forced to do cross country skiing as a kid "for" my dad. I remember crying, throwing fits, hating the cold and the pain when you couldn't feel your hands or feet (or face.... or anything!). Later in life? Not only did I begin to love it, but I treasured those moments because it was something that my father and us children could share...

Don't you think it's a bit odd that this comes up the week of their tryouts? Also, they LOOOOOVED it last year, could they have forgotten?

On a personal level, it drives me up the wall when a person (and this is anyone) changes their mind last minute, especially when they've made a commitment to someone.

Thanks for getting me to think about it some more. You have some very interesting points....

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 6:17PM
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suzieque

My opinion (take it as just that) is that kids shouldn't learn that they can simply quit something that they decide they don't like. If they started, they should finish. They made a commitment - to the team, the coach, their family.

So - I'd have them finish the season. If they do that, then have them decide if they want to commit for the next season. If they don't, Ok. If they do, then they finish that season.

Same with other things ... not just baseball. Kids need to learn to follow through with a commitment, not just quit before they complete their obligation.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 6:32PM
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sweeby

I'm with SuzieQue -- If they've signed up, they play. If they haven't, they get to choose.

But I'm also with you on the video games thing -- I'd insist they participate in some team sport. There are just too many valuable lessons kids learn in team sports that they don't learn any other way. Some sports and some leagues are much better than others. If your kids are not gifted athletes, a non-competitive soccer league can be lots of fun, and youth soccer is a great way to disguise a kid's less-than-stellar skills. If you strike out in baseball, you can't exactly pretend it didn't happen... (Of course, that's one of the lessons -- going on anyway.)

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 6:59PM
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lindakimy

My general rule for my children was that they should finish what they started. Most activities have a sign-up period - a school year or a summer or whatever. Whatever that period was should be completed. At the end of that period it was fine to review things and decide whether or not to continue with another period or move on to try something else. The only way around that rule was a real, serious, legitimate REASON.

I remember some frowns and whining toward the end of tap dancing but for the most part the kids were fine with that. They knew the rule going in (a necessity in my opinion)and there was a light at the end of the tunnel. But they got a lesson about finishing what they started and couldn't just drop out the moment they got bored or things got challenging.

I WAS careful not to overschedule them - a guaranteed killer of enthusiasm. I believe kids need some time to just BE. And video games should be regulated whether the child is signed up for other activities or not. It is too easy for children to become immersed in such hypnotically repetitive pastimes and lose all track. There is only so much manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination that a child needs. A parent should set some limits in the interest of variety if nothing else. And the children should be aware that even if they are not involved in team sports they will NOT be spending all their time in front of a game console.

Maybe you could view this as a good time to really hear them about what is going on. Talk to each one individually about why he wants to quit. This should not be done in a atmosphere of blame or confrontation. Try to make them know that you sincerely want to understand their reasons and that you are willing to suspend the rule if the situation really warrants it. If you can get to the bottom of it, you might be surprised what you learn. There is always the possibility that there is a VERY good reason for them wanting out that they have been too embarrassed or afraid to tell you. Nowadays it doesn't take much worried-Mom-type imagination to picture a scenario that would make you really regret having forced them to continue to participate.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 1:15AM
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coolmama

Kids I think are pretty "flighty",seems like they change their minds alot.My daughter is the same way with different variations.One day it's the powerpuff girls,the next it's barbies. They could have forgotten last year's glories...or maybe they just bored of it and on to the next thing.
Does sound like they got it from somewhere,maybe one of their friends is quitting too or something.
Maybe if older son sticks with it,the younger boys will follow. I agree if they are already signed up they should play...but if they havent and are just starting try-outs,maybe they could take a year off,.They may miss it alot and decide to go back.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 1:30AM
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popi_gw

My son played baseball, last winter, I could see it wasnt going to last, he is 14, and was well aware of how he made a committment and had to compleat the season, so he did. But I knew that he wasnt into it.

Do you feel this about your sons ? Sounds like they just say they don't want to play on impulse, because one of the others said it. They are very young and not really capable of making the right decision. It is hard for you, I can see your dilemma. There are so many positives for them, and you, playing the sport.

Perhaps you could explore other sports, basketball, for example. Not all children are sporty but I think they should give sport a go.

More investigation needed for you, use your wiley mother talents and get to the bottom of the story. You will know the best thing to do, I am sure.

Personally, I think baseball is pretty boring, not much happens in the game, but I spose children like it !

Tennis is good.

Alldogslover...lucky you doing cross country skiing, I would love to have done that !

Special memories with Dad, the children seeing him coaching, that is such a wonderful thing.

Popi's thoughts.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 1:31AM
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lindac

Talk the oldest into going another season and the rest will follow. After the second practise they will be glad...
OR...is there something about their dad being the coach this year that is making a difference in how they feel?
If they said..."We don't want to play baseball, we want to play field hockey this year...I could understand a bit more. But I suspect they are just looking for a little more time with PS2 or X-box or whatever.
Talk it up! They will enjoy another year.
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 11:30AM
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stephanie_in_ga

This is tough, I go through this with my kids, too. DD is 7 and involved in gymnastics. She loves doing, is very proud of learning a new skill, and enjoys the company of the other little girls (girls of the same mold, who would all rather be upside down). She does go 4 hours/week, which seems like a lot for a 7 y/o. So some days she balks. Like a kid, she lives in the moment. So when she pouts and claims she doesn't want to go anymore, I question her sincerity. When I tell her "next month we'll move you to the class that only goes once/45 minutes a week." Then she cries, "Noooo!" I think she's even conflicted inside, it's a lot of time to give up, she gets tired, but she'd really miss gymnastics if it wasn't in her life anymore.

It's hard to know if what they say in the moment truly reflects what they think and feel.

I agree with talking with the boys individually so one does not influence the others. They are getting to the age where they have different interests. I also think it's good for siblings to have their own "thing," something they feel good about without comparisons to each other. Listen to what they say, and ask questions to get at the heart of what they think. I'd ask them what they think they'll be doing if they don't play baseball. Have they mentioned another sport/activity they want to try? Or do they just see it cutting into their video game time?

I do agree, though, that if the committment has already been made for this season, that I'd probably make them finish the season, especially considering you are counted on as a coach.

My 10 y/o DS does taekwondo. That came about 18 months ago after he rejected every team sport we tried for him. And I said "you need to do something besides video games" and started suggesting more individual activities, also suggested art classes and golf or tennis lessons. He has moods when he can't wait to go, and moods when he doesn't want to go. That frustrates me b/c I know once he gets there he has a great time, it's just getting him away from he's doing to leave the house.

My oldest, 13 y/o plays hockey, roller and now starting ice. Not my pick of a sport, as DH and never followed hockey and knew nothing of it (but found out it's kind of expensive!). He loves it and saves his own money for some of the equipment. I *never* have to drag him out the door. He is always ready and waiting at the door saying "Mom, I want to get there early!" I think he'd walk if he had to, and it's 6 miles one way, carrying a bag that I'm guessing weighs 35 lbs. I think that is his age, just more mature than the younger ones who live entirely in the moment.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 11:46AM
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popi_gw

With the younger children living in the moment, I entirely agree. If they are drawing a picture, and you say "come on, into the car we are going to sport", then I can understand they will say "No".

With my children I try to talk about the day, and what will happen. Like "oh its Thursday, after school you can come home and have a piece of chocolate cake, and then we will get ready for sport practice." Works well, gets them thinking about what they will be doing, so things aren't sprung on them.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 8:52PM
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alldogslover

Thank you all so much for your feedback. After further "investigation", this is what they said (things that make you go hmmm, or that just make you giggle):
-I just don't like sitting in the sun.
-I don't like to play when I'm sitting here on the couch.
-I don't want another bad coach.

Anyhow, Dad brought them out to play today, and after the great time they had, they were all reminded why the love it so much. They came home, and all they talked about was about all the plays... and at dinner? The same thing. They are truly athletic and talented; I am glad they changed their mind, they would have done a disservice to themselves to not go on. Having Dad as a coach might also help screen the coaches for our oldest... we'll see.

Personally, I am more of a soccer/basketball/football girl myself... but these guys, they all seem to love their baseball (when not on the couch), so I'll keep on being the proud parent on the bleachers!

Thanks again y'all!!!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 10:39PM
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trekaren

When DD wanted to quit dance when she was in first grade, I made her finish out the year first, then make a decision for good.

This was my way of teaching her to honor commitments, without feeling like I was forcing her to do something she didn't want to do or by giving in to something that may have just been a 'mood swing'.

At the end of the year, we discussed it without all the emotions from earlier, and she said while she loves activity she didn't like tap and ballet. We ended up moving her to gymnastics, which she loves way more.

So in the end, it turned out well for us both!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 12:09PM
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bnicebkind

We have a friend whose kid signs up for various activities, and quits EVERYTHING. I cannot think of a single activity the kid has EVER stuck with. Very enthusiastic in the very beginning, and always quits somewhere in the middle. The kid has done this for years.

I would be very concerned if I were the parents that they are allowing/teaching this kid to be a "quitter". The child does not persevere through anything. I would worry that when this kid became an adult, that they would quit every job that became difficult, and divorce many times...quitting whenever the hard or boring times came along. I think that as the parents take the easy way out, they are hurting their kid in the long run.

However...that does not mean that a kid not ever be let out of something they signed up for. I think that they should be allowed to "try" something, and if it is a horrible fit for your kid, then I do not believe that they should be forced to endure it until the bitter end. I think it is determining if they want to quit something that they really hate, and made a mistake in choosing, versus a consistant pattern of a quitter, not willing to persevere through anything.

If they loved the game last year though, I would sit down and really find out why they did not want to play again. Many people I know only allow the electronic games on the weekends.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 9:50PM
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