Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

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Posts Tagged ‘cheating

Children are cheating, conniving little snots

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Often, people complaining about the excesses of adults in youth sports hearken back to some halcyon days when children organized their own play. And how that play was fair to all, with everyone getting plenty of playing time, having lots of fun, and joining for laughs and good-natured noogies at the malt shop afterward.

Uh, no. Adults can be assholes, but children can be ruthless. And I can cite more than my own personally observed examples to prove that.

A survey by The Cricket Foundation and the Marlyebone Cricket Club (the self-proclaimed world’s most famous cricket club) found 54% of the approximately 1,000 eight- to 16-year-olds survey witnessed bad sportsmanship. Not once. But in every single game they play.

No surprise with anyone with one of these in the house, but 63% of 14-year-olds report bad sportsmanship every game, leading all ages.

From the Guardian in London:

Among examples of bad sportsmanship cited by those questioned were people pretending to be hurt, punching, kicking, and swearing. One child told researchers: “Boys in school playing rugby pulled a boy to the ground and stood on his knee so he couldn’t score a try.” Another spoke of “being hit by a team member in a hockey game at school in order for them to score.” And a third said: “A boy threw a snooker ball at the other boy he was playing against because the other boy was winning.”

I don’t care that this survey was from Great Britain. Plenty of other research has found that kids in the good ol’ U.S. of A. have been conniving little shits for years, and they’re getting more conniving over time.

But why? Maybe it isn’t all the kids’ fault. Maybe kids are ruthless BECAUSE they’re around adults who are assholes. Specifically, the assholes in their house. More from the Guardian:

Half of parents admit that it is their responsibility to deal with their child’s unfair play, while 28% said it was down to the coach.

So half of parents believe that it ISN’T their responsibility to deal with their child’s unfair play. And at least some of them thinks it’s someone’s responsibility to deal with it, even if it isn’t their own. What’s up with the 22% of parents who didn’t assign any responsibility whatsoever?

I don’t know if what the chicken-and-egg relationship is: whether kids are born little bad sports (a thought that’s occured to anyone with a 2-year-old) and their parents to unteach that behavior, or whether kids are born good and learn to be bad by watching their moral-relativist parents. Interestingly, the cricket survey found that 72% of kids thought unfair play was “cheating,” and only 4% thought pro athletes who cheated were “cool,” so even if some kids cheat, they at least feel a little guilty about it.

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“Who taught you how to cheat like that?” “YOU, DAD! I LEARNED IT FROM YOU, OK!”

The studies that find more children getting more comfortable with more cheating than previous generations is that the growing population of little snots is coming from upper middle-class families, who use cheating and bad sportsmanship to give themselves (or, if it’s the parents, their kids), an advantage in getting on the team, into college, etc.

If that’s true, then the growth religion is not Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism or Zoroastriansim: it’s consequentialism, the fancy, philosophical way of saying, “The ends justify the means.”

Written by rkcookjr

April 25, 2010 at 9:31 pm

The Sammy Sosa League

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A few days ago, Little League International issued the following statement:

While Little League International has not received any reports of Little League volunteers or players making alterations to bats designed to increase their performance, it has been an issue in some upper levels of play.

In an effort to ensure this does not become a problem in Little League, this policy statement has been prepared and may be distributed to volunteers, parents and players.

No bat, in any level of Little League Baseball or Softball play, is permitted to be altered. This is of particular concern especially when it is clearly done to enhance performance and violate bat standards. Making such alterations to bats is clearly an inappropriate attempt to gain an unfair advantage, and cheating has no place in our program. Umpires, managers and coaches are instructed to inspect bats before games and practices – as they always should – to determine if bats might have been altered.

This includes using the appropriate Little League Bat Ring. If a bat does not clearly pass through the correct size ring, or if it has a flat spot on it, the bat must not be used. (This may simply indicate the bat has become misshapen with use, and does not necessarily indicate it was purposely altered. Still, the bat must be removed.)

Other signs to look for include contorted or mangled end-caps or knobs on non-wood bats. This could indicate that machinery was used to “shave” the inside of the bat to make it lighter. Bats with evidence of this type of tampering also must not be used.

Little League International wishes to make it clear that tampering with bats (or any other piece of equipment) is dangerous, and the equipment must not be used in any Little League game or practice.

349562139_a94a8cd9af_mI’ve tried in vain to find some huge story out there that might have precipitated Little League putting out a statement. The closest thing I could find is something that happened last year — so this could be a warning not to pull the stuff that the Kendall, Fla., Little League team allegedly pulled.

The team was booted out of last year’s Little League World Series after being accused of “using illegal bats, improper diamond dimensions and putting together the all-star team too early.”

OK, that might explain the release of a statement on illegal bats. But there must have been some other reports coming in that the wider world hasn’t heard about. Otherwise, Little League International would have put out concurrent statements about diamond size and all-star team configuration.

UPDATE: Mark Hyman at Youth Sports Parents surmises the LL release was a result of accusations of bat-tampering in the NCAA. Hyman found a story in the Birmingham News that discusses the suspicions that the bats (through not the players) are juiced.