Advice for a boomer coaching the kids

Okay, maybe once some of us boomers were Little Leaguers … and then, maybe some of us were Little League coaches. But unless you had children late in life, those days might also be gone. Too bad. There’s wisdom in the advice of one-time-coach and now retired Evansville, Indiana newspaper columnist Garret Mathews. Back in the day, he even wrote a book about his coaching experience called Baseball Days. Did he pick right? Did you? Read on.

Because our sons failed to heed my strictest instructions and stay 10-years-old forever, April is upon us and I don’t have a kids’ baseball team to coach.

baseball_daysBut you do.

Worry beads the size of boulders have formed on your forehead.

You’ve closed deals from here to Nepal. You’ve pushed product in Platteville. You’ve hung drywall in a hurricane. But you’ve never been alone in a dugout with a bunch of fourth-graders.

Tryouts are coming up.

How will you know which youngsters to pick? The games last well into June. How can you make sure your team doesn’t lose every game by the mercy rule, and parents don’t leave you drawn and quartered on the third-base line?

You don’t. But today is your lucky day, oh ye neophyte coaches.

For absolutely no charge, I will share from wisdom gained from more than a decade of watching elementary school students write their names in the dugout dirt.

Veteran newspaperman Garret Mathews.

Veteran newspaperman Garret Mathews.

Not only will I tell you which kids to draft who might actually help you win a game or two, I’ll tell you which ones to avoid.

  • Pick a child who has a good-looking mom (GLM). Hey, it’s a long season.
  • Listen carefully when the children are waiting for their turns to hit and field.
  • Do not pick a kid who uses the word “lawsuit.”
  • Do not select a child who comes to tryouts wearing shower thongs.
  • The equipment bag is heavy. Pick a kid whose father is a power lifter.
  • Pick a kid who can burp the vowels. He can entertain the troops when you’re getting beat 19-2.
  • Pick a kid who can recite “Old Ironsides” from memory. He should be able to remember the coaches’ signs.
  • Do not select a kid who comes to tryouts wearing a “Doctor Phil” T-shirt.
  • Pick a kid who wants to be a pirate when he grows up. He could turn out to be your best base-stealer.
  • Do not select a child who asks if he can borrow a baseball to dissect for science class.
  • Pick a kid whose dad plays in the Philharmonic. Even if you’re last in the standings, at least you can teach your players a new musical instrument.
  • Pick a kid with freckles. If you’re getting beat 23-6, you can kill some time connecting the dots.
  • Pick a kid who tries to flush his feet down the toilet. See previous item on the need to provide alternative entertainment.
  • Do not select a child whose dad has to tie the kid’s shoes.
  • Pick a kid who has underarm hair.
  • Do not select a child who picks dandelions in the outfield.
  • Pick a kid whose GLM likes to bring other GLMs to the ballpark. See previous item about the long season.

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1 Comment

  1. I may have to usurp a couple of those for a future talk…with proper attribution, of course…

    Especially the kids with freckles and underarm hair…great stuff!


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