Saturday, July 13, 2013

Why This Baseball Player Really Likes Soccer!

Growing up in South Georgia, if you were an athlete you played three sports.  Football, baseball and basketball.  Sometimes you ventured out into track, wrestling, tennis or golf, but for the most part you stuck with one of these three.  If you did happen to come across a soccer ball, you found three bases to use and a mean game of kickball just might break out!  Soccer just wasn't our thing.  For me, my first and only true love was my baseball glove and bat, but I will tell you today that I am really glad that my son loves soccer along with being an All-star baseball player.

Reid just finished his 4th year of soccer camp with Challenger Sports.  It is a week long camp that teaches soccer skills and teamwork.  The camp is taught by instructors from across the pond who really know how the game is played.  We have had coaches from England, Scotland, Whales, and Spain to name a few.  They will spend their summer in the United States going from camp to camp making kids from 4 to 16 years old better soccer players.  I think it is great for the game and the kids love it!

So why does this baseball nut of a father love the fact that my kid plays soccer?  Because here in the South, the game is still pure for these kids.  Us as parents for the most part are uneducated about the game of soccer, therefore we don't feel the need to constantly try and "coach" from the sidelines.  Kids are encouraged to just go out and have fun playing the game.  We are excited when our child kicks the ball no matter what little effect it may have in the outcome of the game.  We encourage the "team" to play as a team.  The defense is just as important as the offense.  It is a game in constant motion where if a mistake is made, there is very little time to dwell on it.  A tie games is considered a great contest!

No take a look at little league baseball.  Every parent thinks they know how to play baseball.  Never mind the fact that they have never stepped foot on the diamond.  They have been watching the Braves for years, therefore they know all there is to know.  They have also never spent any time with their son playing catch in the yard, but they expect the coach to recognize the natural ability flowing out of their child's pores and ask why he isn't starting at shortstop!  Parents are constantly putting pressure on their kids to do better, hit it further, make the catch, run faster, do it the way I taught you (even though it is wrong), don't listen to the umpire, he is an idiot, and on and on and on.

My son has been playing soccer for 5 years.  I coached him for the first 4.  I know enough about the game to try and teach kids to have fun, get in open space for good passes and good shots, play hard defense, etc, but I really don't consider myself to know how to coach soccer.  I have also coached baseball for 6 years.  I know the game of baseball.  I know how to coach kids to play this game the right way.  I think I am a good coach.  I can tell you that my fondest coaching memories come from the soccer field.  I have never had a conflict with a soccer parent.  I have never had a soccer parent complain to me about where their child was playing or why I chose that strategy.  Again, parents for the most part don't know any more about the game than I do.  It is still pure!

Soccer kids are great kids!  You don't have to be the biggest kid.  You don't have to be the fastest kid.  You don't have to be the most gifted athlete to play the game.  In fact, I know a kid that struggles pretty bad at baseball, but he is a good runner that has a lot of hustle, so he makes for a pretty good soccer defender!  Any kid has an opportunity to contribute to their soccer team. I think that's awesome!

So play on Son!  Even though your father was and still is a baseball nut, I have to admit that I really enjoy watching you play soccer and it might just be my new favorite sport!

Here's to a great week!  Can't wait until next year! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

So, What Have I Been Up Too??

Baseball, baseball, baseball!!!  It really is a way of life.  Pictured above is the 2013 9-10 year old Fitzgerald All-Star baseball team.  We have had a busy month!  Reid (middle front)was the starting pitcher and played some games at second base.  We competed in 3 different tournaments and several practice games with neighboring counties.  We practiced everyday we were not playing.  It was a lot of baseball for a great group of kids and I hope that they have learned something!

Our season ended last week and that has allowed our family to try and get back to a normal life.  No longer am I running home early to get to the ball park.  No longer will I be living off of sunflower seeds and Gatorade.  No longer will we have to wash a uniform every other night!  It will be a much needed break!  It is back to fresh cooked vegetables and lean meat on the grill!  It is back to evening walks to provide exercise and weight loss due to ball park hot dogs and french fries.  It is back to reading good books and watching the Braves.  It is back to actually spending some quality time with my wife and daughter!

So is the life of having active kids!  I wouldn't have it any other way!  In fact, it has been less than a week and I already kind of miss it.  Won't be long's almost time for......

Camp starts next week!  Bring it on!!

Have a great 4th everybody!!