Baseball: A soul-crushing sport?

baseball .png

Baseball.

What was once regarded as “America’s past-time” has turned into a soul-crushing sport for today’s boys.

Maybe it was “America’s past-time” decades ago when school-aged boys would gather in an empty field, pick teams and just play baseball much like the hit movie “The Sandlot.” What I wouldn’t give for my own 9-year-old to have that type of baseball experience.

But like most other sports these days, it’s not about just playing the game, it’s all about winning 100 percent of the time and that mindset tends to fall on the coaches.

And while I agree that winning is important – especially at the high school, college, minor league and major league levels – is it really that important when the kids are 9 years old and playing recreational baseball?

The Lorain County Hot Stove League my 9-year-old plays for is a “participation league.” And it’s “parent league” – The Ohio Hot Stove Baseball League encourages “players of all abilities.” Hot Stove was first conceived by sports editor Karl Artman, of Selma, Ala. in the early 1930s. His original idea was to form fun clubs where the members could swap ideas and discuss organized baseball in all its phases. Unfortunately, Artman passed away before his ideas had a chance to develop.

I’m not sure when the detail about “having fun” vanished, but seeing young boys with near tears in their eyes and disappointed faces in the dugout while they sit the bench isn’t my idea of fun. Hearing the young boys who don’t play an entire game like their peers beg and plead with their coach to play the field, only to be told “Maybe later” or “We’ll see” isn’t part of the league’s mission statement either.

The concept of my son’s league is to play on a rotation basis. Meaning, you rotate players in and out of play time. That way, in my opinion, when a boy has to sit the bench, he knows it’s only for an inning or two … not four consecutive innings which to a 9-year-old is a lifetime. And, if the coach adheres to the “rotation” rule, sitting the bench would not be seen as a punishment. A

s if sitting the bench isn’t hard enough, the seemingly better players on the team begin to notice their “spot” on the team and become entitled and perceive themselves as God’s gift to baseball.

How are baseball parents supposed to explain to their average baseball player son why he didn’t get to play more than two innings when other players exuding unsportsmanlike attitudes play inning after inning?

What is that teaching our sons? That you can have a fit and then instead of sitting the bench and taking a “time out” you are “rewarded” by being allowed to play the field while the average player would give anything to see the baseball diamond?

How does an adult morally crush a kid’s spirit?

I hate seeing kids on the outside looking in. It drains their psyche whether they can see it or not. They are now “damaged” goods in their own heads while the “chosen ones” continue to act high and mighty.

Today’s youth take it all in. Wherever they go, whatever they do, they understand what is happening in the world around them. Don’t think for a second they are oblivious. Being a parent of a child athlete is tough.

We encourage our children to “go out for the team” and cringe when they only “suit up” and spend most of their time in the dugout.

My dad coached basketball for 25 years. He allowed every player “play time.” And, when his team was ahead, instead of running up the score, he allowed for his “second string” to hit the court. It was his way of allowing them to show him what they had learned at practice.

Sports isn’t like that anymore.

Elementary-aged boys are still trying to figure out where they belong, but when coaches, who should otherwise be role models, cater to only a select few, what is that accomplishing?

Nothing. It accomplishes nothing except creating a mindset that that player is unworthy. And parents are left picking up the pieces of their crushed souls.

 

Melissa Linebrink is an award-winning blogger from Ohio. Follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ParenthoodthenewCrazyTrain! 

 

 

Advertisements

Coping with community deaths

keystone

Death …

I don’t even know where to start.

But I do know this … while searching the Internet, scrolling for the right inspirational quotes to help me get my start, I came across two.

The first one read: “Keep your head up. God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers.”

The other read: “Today only comes once.”

Well, in our tiny village, we must be the BEST strongest soldiers because within the past five days, we have endured two life-altering battles.

And we are still here for one another, holding each other up through all the pain.

We will not break, oh no … but we are allowed to hurt.

And we are.

On Saturday, a mom whose children once attended the Keystone Schools, passed away. She was 36; and left behind two children. Her smile was infectious and her hair, stunning.

While parents were left wondering “Why?” and “How did this happen?” all while trying to explain to our children that Jessica is “in a better place” we are really trying to understand … is she really? Is there a better place other than being here on Earth with her two little ones?

So, for five days, parents living and working in the same community that Jessica once did, did the best we could to enjoy the Christmas holiday with our loved ones, all while trying to cope with our own grief.

We put on smiles, ate too much and watched as our kiddos opened presents on Christmas morning.

I’d like to say we were slowly coming to realize our worst fear had come true – Jessica was indeed gone too soon – but I still think most of us are in a state of denial.

Then, just as we began to piece our lives back together, our community and spirits came crashing down.

On Wednesday morning, the word that a 17-year-old Keystone High School student died from injuries sustained in a single car crash spread through the LaGrange and Elyria communities like wildfire.

Kayden Williams – a football player with a heart of gold who was loved by all families in the area – will never step on the football field again. He will never walk the halls of Keystone High. He will never live the life his parents dreamed of for him.

The worst part of Kayden’s death? I had to tell my son, a freshman at the same school, that a fellow student who he saw on a daily basis, died. How does a parent even do that? There isn’t a book, outlining the steps on how to tell your son that someone who had his entire future ahead of him has died. That there is no rhyme or reason why Kayden is no longer spending the holiday break with his parents and siblings.

My 9-year-old daughter said it best … “I know he’s in Heaven with Jesus, but Mom, he didn’t even get to play with his presents from Santa.”

So, on this Thursday – a day when I will be paying my respects to the York family – I will keep my head up.

I will be a soldier for my children, to let them know that bad things happen to good people, and there really is no explanation.

And then, then I will remind them to live each day like it is their last … because TODAY only comes ONCE.

RIP Jessica and RIP Kayden

 

Time is slipping away

It’s happening.

On Monday, my firstborn will enter high school as a freshman.

Wasn’t I just feeding him a bottle and putting him down for a nap?

Weren’t we just in the beginning stages of potty training?

Weren’t we just teaching him how to read a book and write his name?

Somewhere after July 17, 2008 time seemed to blur – that was the day the twins were born and life as I knew it before being a mom to one kiddo evaporated.

Within a few short hours, I went from devoting all of my time to one kid to sharing it between three.

What I would give to have a few moments left where I just had one child. That’s not to say I don’t love my other kids. I do. I just miss the one-on-one time spent between my firstborn and myself.

Sure, we make time to chat, but gone are the days when I was his world.

For more than five years, he was my everything.

He was my errand-runner, picnic-partner, pool-entertainment and my only son.

Then in one quick swoop, I had to share my time, energy and love.

Eight years seems to have gone by in eight seconds.

One day I was watching him get on the school bus at the end of our driveway, crying as the bus drove away. The next, I sat in the back of a classroom listening to all the required requirements for graduating from high school.

Excuse me. No. This cannot be happening! I refuse to believe I am old enough to have a freshman in high school. In my mind, I am still 25 years old. I don’t feel old enough to have a kid in high school.

But I do.

During orientation, I saw his name on the PowerPoint presentation as class treasurer. At varsity soccer games, his name is announced over the loudspeaker as goalkeeper.

I am just a sideline spectator now – watching with baited breath that he makes the right decisions and chooses the right path in life.

And while I am not 100 percent OK with that status, I accept it because after all I was a high school freshman once – 24 years ago – and I’m pretty sure my parents felt the same way.

 

 

Top 10 things you should experience before parenthood

Parenthood is not a walk in the park. Is it rewarding? Absolutely – especially as your children age and you realize you didn’t scar them for life.

But, before embarking on the longest journey of your life, there are a few things to consider, or experience:

18222113_10208812418529973_4254538508289425203_n
COMMON CORE MATH

#10: Find a First Grade Math book and start studying it now. Common Core is the worst form of math ever created. Start learning it now, before you have kids. Maybe by the time you child enters first grade, you will understand it enough to form a support group in your kid’s school. You will have a bigger following than the school’s PTA.

#9: Store a container of milk on the kitchen counter. Leave it there for a week. After it’s set out in the heat, open it up and take a whiff. That is will be the same odor you will smell after you realize your kid dropped their sippy cup in the car, and you can’t find it for a week or longer. It will smell like death, and probably, so will your car.

#8: Ask a friend to borrow a bin of Legos. Drop them over your floor. Walk on them without shoes. Walking on Legos is a rite of passage into parenthood. If you can walk over Legos with bare feet and not bat an eyelash, you will survive parenthood.

#7: Borrow a child. Attempt to take a shower or simply go to the bathroom. Listen as that child screams “MOM” or “DAD” 10,000 times in a matter of minutes. That will be how you use the bathroom for the rest of your life. Enjoy showering and peeing in peace now.

#6: Buy stock in the following items: tissues, toilet paper, napkins, Band-Aids, plastic cups, diapers, baby wipes, milk and hot dogs. Those items will magically disappear right before your eyes. And if you think you have “one more gallon of milk stored away” – think again. Eventually, a neighbor may see your FB post about being out of milk … yet again … and they will drive down to give you theirs.

#5: Be prepared to no longer have a social life with friends. Your social life will now consist of playdates, baseball games, softball games, tournaments and birthday parties. The days of making a split decision to grab a nice dinner and movie are gone … at least until you can afford a babysitter and escape for four hours.

#4: Learn how to control your gut instinct to throw up at the first sight of … well, throw up. Kids cannot control their bodily fluids. It doesn’t matter if the trash can is right next to their bed. They will miss and the vomit will end up on their floor. Hold your breath and pray as you are forced to clean up the mess at 2 a.m. (Because that is when kids get sick the most often – in the middle of the night.)

#3: Take a class in negotiation. It doesn’t matter how many children you have … you will be forced to bribe them to do the most mundane activities – like brush their teeth, pee before bed or get dressed.

#2: Take a VACATION with your partner. Once you have children, and you take them with you, it’s no longer a VACATION. It becomes a TRIP.

#1: Before having kids, set your alarm for every three hours. This is how often you will be up once you bring a newborn home – probably less in reality. And you will never get a full night of sleep again.

Melissa Linebrink is an award-winning blogger. Read her blog at http://parenthoodthenewcrazytrain.com. Follow her on Twitter @train_crazy or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ParenthoodthenewCrazyTrain/

 

 

Am I selling myself short?

 

Am I selling myself short?

I am looking to branch out my blogging self.

The kicker is, I need a THING to write about. Or a BRAND. Or a PRODUCT.

I can’t write about being a MOM anymore because that ship has sailed on the Scary Mommy Yacht, Huffington Post Parents Sailboat and every other parenting blog known to the blogsphere.

I thought, well maybe I could write about being a mom to a teenager. After all, I do have one of those living in my basement at the moment. But, since he rarely talks to me, he doesn’t give me enough material to write a daily blog about his life. No cash there.

Oh, and then TWINS. Thought maybe I’d struck gold with that BOGO that took place nearly nine years ago. But here’s the thing, no one cares. No one cares that I had twins. Now, they did care when I was PREGNANT with them. I was the talk of the town, mall and OB facility.

“What are you having?” – them.

“A boy … and a girl …” – me as they looked at me, their mouth wide open and eyes as big as the moon.

“Really? Oh how fun! – them.

“Super …” – me, thinking to myself, “I pee every 15 minutes, my entire body hurts and I have a map of the world on my stomach from stretch lines. Do you need to know how to get to New York? Here, let me look …”

BUT NOW, now that they are almost 9 years old, that novelty has worn off. No one even asks me, “Are they twins?” anymore. It’s a bummer really. I shoulda blogged then, but … that wasn’t a thing and I was too tired.

So, then what am I left with? My marriage.

Do people really want to know how we live our lives in the mid-west?

Do people really care that the other night, I was walking around my 2-acre property, in the pouring down rain, looking for the shed key that I APPRENTLY lost while my husband stayed inside, my guess is watching me run around like a duck all the while the key was behind the microwave? I only went out in the storm because I thought he was gonna’ divorce me for losing the ONLY shed key that we own. Stupid Melissa.

Do people really care that we text each other about the most mundane daily events … like when he forgot to uncover the OLD CAT’S SHITTER and then the OLD CAT TOOK A SHIT NEXT TO THE BOX ON THE GARAGE FLOOR because we have to COVER THE OLD CAT’S SHITTER because he HATES IT WHEN THE KITTENS USE HIS SHITTER AS THEIR SHITTER. I too have forgotten to open Jerry’s SHITTER at night to find a pile of shit and a blob of piss on the garage floor. I’d prefer the days when he actually left us rodents by the front door.

And, do people really care that when we are driving on the highway, he feels it is the perfect time to lecture me about pool usage in the summer as if I am his teenage daughter, rather than his 39-year-old wife of nearly 17 years. “If I come home from work and the backyard is a mess …” … Seriously, I think we can all GUESS what I told him as he began THAT sentence.

Hmmmmmmm … maybe I outta change my blog page to simply “MELISSA’S FOLLIES” and leave it at that. It’s not super witty, but maybe I will become a household name among parents …

“Did you read Melissa’s Follies yet today? Her kids are on spring break … and she’s at her breaking point. Today, she tried to scare birds away from their nests as they chirped at her and nearly pecked her eyes out! She’s a hot mess that Melissa!”

 

 

Life – Could there be something more?

Do you ever ask yourself – what’s it all mean?

Could there really be something more?

Maybe not necessarily referring to the way we live our lives, but rather the choices we make that mold us into the people we are today.

For about three months, my blog has remained untouched. Sure, I still get the daily notices that someone has “enrolled” onto my blog page, other times I get Twitter notifications that someone has agreed to follow me. And, then my Facebook page has gradually been receiving more and more views, and a few more “likes” here and there.

But those are just numbers adding up to virtually nothing.

For me, blogging has been my way of venting. Yet while I consider it “venting” others call it bitching. Either way, they are my words based on the way I am feeling as a woman, wife and mother at any given moment in my life.

One aspect of life my followers know is that I am bold and do not bow down to adversity.

But at what point does that translate into “she doesn’t like being a mom” or “she doesn’t love her kids.”

It doesn’t. It never has.

Not every day is full of rainbows and unicorns. Not every day is wonderful.

But I am blessed that I get to live every day.

I have been trolling sites for blog jobs, but more and more often, those sites are aiming to hire bloggers with a passion for something.

Well, I hate cooking – so those gigs are out.

I craft, but it’s not my passion to explore every faucet of Pinterest in the hopes of creating something more amazing than the hand-painted wine bottles decorating various parts of my house. (If you want one, by the way, let me know – I have six currently sitting on shelves collecting dust.)

I do, however, enjoy gardening and planting flowers. Do people really want to know what I plant in my garden year after year? Do people really want to know that for the life of me, the soil in my garden produces rotten tomatoes every single year since I began gardening in 2007?

Maybe they do; maybe they don’t.

Yet the reason why I blog isn’t too tell others how to live their life, or to even complain about my own life.

The reason I blog is to let other parents around the world know they are not alone.

Parents in Oregon are dealing with the same teenage drama that storms through my house at 4:35 p.m. every day.

Parents in England are dealing with preparing meals that their second-graders deem “poison” as they dissect every single piece of food that touches their plate.

Mothers are overworked. Fathers are underappreciated. And somewhere in the mix, are trying to find the reason they fell in love and got married in the first place in between carting their children to every single extra-curricular activity known to mankind.

That is why I blog.

I guess I just needed to remind myself why too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A mom setting the world on fire

“Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire!”

–St. Catherine of Siena

Somewhere in the past 38 years, I found my voice.

I was silenced for far too long; and life is far too short to sit on the sidelines to not do or say anything.

As a journalist, I spend my days asking questions in an effort to gain answers.

Truth be told, not everyone wants to hear or read the truth. The truth is ugly. We try to paint picturesque scenarios in an effort to hide what is really going on in society.

People make weak attempts to skew the truth to make it work for them.

And the amount of ass-kissing makes me nauseous.

In the end, life is only black and white. There are no shades of gray.

Perhaps that is my downfall in life.

Remember going on job interviews when the interviewer would ask, “What would people say is your weakest quality?”

I used to answer, “I am an over-achiever who pays attention to detail. I am not satisfied with less than ideal outcomes.”

That was my answer.

Now, if I was put in a room, my answer would simply be, “I am outspoken and honest. I do not sugar coat anything in life.”

That is my weakness at the age of 38.

I tell it like I see it.

Because really, what is the point of living a fake life? What is the point of pretending to be who we are day in and day out? What is the point of putting on a façade? Who are we trying to impress with our smokescreens?

Over the past three weeks, people have been trying to put out my flame. They have tried over and over again to quiet my voice. They have tried to change the way I see things happening in our community. I have been talked about behind my back. I have been singled out by those who believe they have more clout than me. My name has been dragged through the mud enough times to leave ruts.

And that’s fine because I am who God created me to be.

I will continue to use to my voice. I will continue to be passionate about what I believe in. I will continue to stand up for my children. I will continue to shed light on subjects that others may deem taboo.

I will not go down without a fight. My fire will never go out.

Melissa Linebrink is an award-winning blogger. Read her blog at http://parenthoodthenewcrazytrain.com. Follow her on Twitter @train_crazy or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ParenthoodthenewCrazyTrain/