|Wyatt on the mound|
Wyatt plays "pitcher" which means he doesn't pitch, but he stands on the mound and once the coach pitches he takes over the role. He does well. He's probably (I say this with all objectivity) tied for 3rd best on the team. But it's a distant third over these other two. These two are going for it. Who knows if they'll make it. But they are serious about the game and I know what that looks like when nine year olds are serious about sports. They may burn themselves out, they may start drinking in high school, they may get injured. But they're running at the pros, and will probably bring in a scholarship at least. The pros are obviously a rarity. Who's to say what will happen there.
Anyway, the shortstop is a tad aggressive. Which is fine. He's good. But he harasses my kid. And I don't like it. He tells Wyatt to back off. To let him get every ball. Wyatt is a quiet kid. I told him to stand up for himself. That he doesn't have to let Mr. big mouth shortstop push him around. I even said: push him back if he touches you. It's ok. I won't be mad.
This past week at practice it got bad. I could see it from the sidelines. Shortstop came at him. He may have actually even pushed him aside physically. Wyatt stood his ground. That's my boy. But the shortstop brought first baseman into the argument. It was 2 on 1. They mocked him.
- Shortstop said: back up Wyatt. Let me get it.
- Wyatt said: But I'm pitcher. I got it.
- Shortstop: No really. Hey Mr. First baseman - tell Wyatt to back off. Tell him he's outfield. He's outfield right?
- First baseman: Yeah. He's outfield.
He held his own. But he was so flustered that when the ball did come to him, he fumbled. Or whatever it's called in baseball. Then they gave him a whole bunch of shit again about backing off and just letting them handle it. My baby. (I should add, they do miss sometimes, these two. Of course they do. They're 9. Immaturely, I like pointing out to Wyatt when these other kids flub it up. Just to make him see everyone falters.)
He held it together. I should mention the coach saw none of this. He had his back to the whole affair because he was pitching. He isn't neglectful just engaged in organized chaos with the other 10 kids on the team, one of whom hit another with a bat by accident, square in the forehead, flattening him.
The minute we left the field Wyatt broke down. But what a trooper for holding it together for the whole practice. He lost it though, as we made our way to the car. "W-- is an asshole!" Yes that's what he said. I didn't scold him. The kid is kind of an asshole.
I explained that asshole simply thinks that because he is good at baseball that he gets to treat people badly. And that it wasn't right but that he'd learn his lesson one day. I also reminded Wyatt that he is good at many many things and that didn't ever give him the right to be nasty to anyone else or to believe he was somehow better than anyone else. Not that good chess players usually get uppity.
It took a while for him to calm down. A smoothie and some video games later he had it all under control. But he did say he didn't want to go back to baseball.
What to do? I don't give a rat's ass whether or not the child plays baseball. I don't want him to feel bullied on the field. But I also don't want him to give up and hide because someone is a bit salty. People can be dicks. We can't hide from life every time we encounter a random douchebag. Hmm. What's a mother to do?
I called the coach to let him know Wyatt might not be back. Not because he doesn't like the team, he does. But because of Mr. Shortstop. I explained that I wasn't upset with the kid. I get it. Shortstop is good. He wants to win. He's more serious than the other kids. I was that kid. I TOTALLY get it. I don't expect the coach to pretend everyone is equally good. I do expect him to teach them the rules of sportsmanship.
He's a gem, that coach. He said: I want Wyatt to experience a positive team experience. He's a great kid. I made him pitcher because he's reliable, because he's a team player. Get him to the game on Saturday and I'll encourage him. I really don't want him to have a bad experience with this. And I love his hair.
What a guy. By hook or by crook (or maybe a bribe) I'll get him to the game on Saturday. Sometimes it's better when the encouragement doesn't come from mom. I'll let the coach tell him he's got cool hair, a good arm and a team friendly attitude.