Pickup game

An interesting essay from The New York Times Magazine on kids and sports. It begins:

Last summer, in the bright, buggy late-afternoon heat of an Atlanta playground, a few Druid Hills High School baseball players taught a bunch of little kids how to play the game.

My 16-year-old son, Lee Samuel, ran a baseball clinic with his teammates Andre Mastrogiacomo and Matt and Palmer Hudson. Here’s what the teenagers didn’t require of their players: tryouts; advance registrations; birth certificates; assignments to teams by age, sex and skill level; uniforms or team names; parent volunteers; snack schedules; and commuting to fields in distant counties in search of the appropriate level of competition.

Here’s what the players didn’t miss: almost none of the above. (Uniforms are pretty cool.)

1 thought on “Pickup game”

  1. I once read another interesting essay regarding kids and baseball. It was in ?Mad Magazine.?

    It started with kids playing sandlot ball without uniforms or umpires or even adult supervision. Eventually some adult notices this un-structured fun and decides to help the kids increase their enjoyment of the game by organizing teams into leagues. Then sponsors provide funds for uniforms and improved fields.

    Before you know it every kid is on a Little League team. Parents are proud and the intensity of the competition rises dramatically. There are concession stands and many fans get worked up to inappropriate levels of rage. Naturally everyone is so involved with their own kids? baseball that attendance at Major League games begins to drop off. After a time in fact nobody is going to see the big leagues and so they fold.

    Of course there are then a lot of former Major Leaguers who have no other job training than baseball looking for work. At first a few of these guys get forged birth certificates and wiggle their ways into Little Leagues as ringers.

    It doesn?t take long for the big leaguers to totally dominate the Little Leagues so the kids are forced out.

    In the end the poor kids are forced to play unsupervised sandlot ball with no uniforms or umpires.

Comments are closed.