Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nein! Nein! Nine!

Can we please stop turning the New Haven little league mess into some kind of political referendum?

The kid was too good for his competition. Fine. Bump him up a league and there you go. Every issue of ESPN has some story or other about a famous pro athlete who was too good for his middle school/age group/junior varsity, wasn't allowed to play with kids his own age, and had to play with the big kids. It happens all the damn time with no fuss and bother.

Except, of course, that the kid's coach decided to defy the league mandate and pitch the kid anyway. It's not like they said he couldn't play; he was doing just fine at second base. But this wannabe Billy Martin decided that he was going to go all Buford Pusser on the little league - which, last time I checked, was about the kids - and when he broke the rules, the other team got pulled off the field.

So I don't particularly blame the league. I certainly don't blame the kid. I don't particularly blame the coaches of the other team, who, when confronted with an act showing calculated disdain toward the dictates of the volunteer group they were all working for. I do blame the coach, whose need to win appears to have reached such a pathological level that he decided his need to have this kid pitch for him was more important than the entire league.

And it's nothing more than that. So the talking heads who were doomsaying about how this was a result of "everyone gets a prize for participating" culture while waxing rhapsodic about how they all got taken out for ice cream after their games, win or lose, well, they can put a sock in it until they can find irony with something other than a magnet.
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