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League Rules: Let's Ask Some Experts

Maybe it's time to ask kids what they think.

I’ve always wanted to be a music critic. I love exploring new music. I’m the guy that wakes up very early on Tuesday mornings so that I have time to look at and listen to the new CD releases of the week.  

The problem being that I don’t always understand what it is that makes certain music great and other music not. I don’t get Dylan at all. But the critics say that Dylan is brilliant and dump all over a guy like Billy Joel. I think Rush and ELO are incredible while the critics usually hammered them. I get the greatness of the Beatles but don’t know why Wings is often dismissed as lame. Nirvana broke new ground. But I can’t figure out why on my own.  

Usually I’d go to Wikipedia for the answers. Except today it was on hiatus to protest the proposed SOPA and PIPA bills. So I have to agree with my good friend Dave when he wrote this morning, “Missing Wikipedia already… I like my information to be slightly wrong.”  

It’s easy to be slightly wrong, isn’t it? Heck – it’s easy to be slightly anything. Our politicians prove that everyday. And we can argue politics all day long and end up right back where we started. I suppose it’s just as easy for a music critic to be slightly wrong – or even slightly right. But that would depend on the tastes of the reader. Funny how we can think a critic is completely wrong and then a month later, after further exploration – completely agree. Why is that? Maybe we let that opinion resonate in our ears… in our minds before disposing of it?  

When I started writing A Sporting Dad back in June, I didn’t plan for it to turn into a column about trying to fix everything that is wrong with youth sports today. And I certainly didn’t want the role of the critic.  

If you look back at some of the earlier topics, they are stories of me and The Boy and our experiences together in this crazy mixed-up world. And I’m not at all ready to abandon those silly little stories that come about from hanging out with our own kids.  

So as this column began to turn towards me telling you what I dislike most about youth sports, I purposely stayed away from reading about what some of the experts and critics in the field had to say. I did this because I wanted to truly discover my own beliefs without being swayed this way or that way. While I may need Rolling Stone Magazine to pinpoint the intricacies of how the Beach Boys and Little Richard changed music – I’d already written my own review of the changes I wanted to see in youth sports.  

Well – finally after going through every single email (there are many) and the opposing comments here on Patch – I needed to see if I was really as crazy as some of you portrayed me to be.  

First I discovered “Hey Coach Tony” on Facebook. He has a Saturday morning show on youth sports on a couple of local ESPN Radio stations and I suggest you check him out. I spent an entire night listening to some of his past shows on YouTube and instantly became a fan. Some of our views are spot on and I’m excited that he may be broadening his listening area in the future. I hope to catch up with Coach Tony soon and figure out if we can piggyback our messages off each other.  

Another person that gets a lot of attention in this area is Bob Bigelow. His book, Just Let the Kids Play, is often quoted by those that believe in a more enjoyable and equal youth sporting experience. I downloaded a copy of it last week and skimmed through very quickly. I can’t wait to read it in its entirety.  

There are many others as well. I’ve met enough like-minded leaders from other leagues around the area to possibly assemble a panel and pull some of these issues out of the equipment shed and into board meetings where they can be addressed.  

You and I have spent the past few weeks examining several questions and trying to figure out what solutions fit the best. Maybe we’ve learned something from each other – maybe not. We’ll trudge back through that pile again in the weeks to come.  

For now I’d like to assemble a list of questions for our kids to answer. What do they think about a minimum play rule? Does it bother them to see the same teammate sitting on the bench game after game? What’s the one thing they’d like to tell their coach? What’s more important to them: winning games or playing more often?  

After all, THEY are the ones that we are building these programs around. I’m not suggesting we let them dictate league policy but I do think it’s important and could be beneficial to hear what they have to say. It’s their game.  

So let’s come up with questions for a Player Survey. Either email me or list them below. Let me know if you’d like your child to participate. We’ll keep their identities safe but let their little voices be heard.  

My same friend Dave and I had a conversation in a little pizza place in New Britain about 20 years ago. The subject was the Rolling Stones. I couldn’t understand why he thought they were so relevant as a groundbreaking band. Well laugh as you must… I’ve long since changed my opinion and understood the ignorance of my denial.  

I’d like to change a few minds about “minimum play rules” and “separation based on skill at an early age.” Can you at least put them under review?

Ron Goralski January 20, 2012 at 10:35 PM
I just downloaded it.
Ron Goralski January 21, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Well this sure does help.
Ron Goralski January 21, 2012 at 08:49 PM
I like that one a lot too. Is this my Nancy from TN?
Ron Goralski January 21, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Roger that!
nancy January 21, 2012 at 09:41 PM
YES!

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