My children are signed up with the Angelborough Baseball League. Kiddo#2 is slated into softball, and there’s no problem with that.
Kiddo#1 has never played baseball before, other than five days last summer at baseball camp. He knows everything about baseball except how to play it. He’s never participated before in a team sport, either. It’s always been solo.
So we signed him up for the AAA level. That’s partly based on age and partly on skill level. The levels go A-AA-AAA-Major. As if anything is major here in Angelborough.
When my Patient Husband signed him up, the guy at the desk tried to push him into putting Kiddo#1 into the “major” league. Patient Husband said no, and that was that. Eventually we received notice of when K1’s evaluation would take place, and all was well.
Then we got an email from the guy at the desk: this would be the very last year that Kiddo#1 could participate in the “Major” league, so we really should switch him. I sat on the email, and then he called us and said he really wanted to talk to us. Eventually he got me on the phone and started laying on the guilt the way a bricklayer slathers on mortar. My son wouldn’t be playing with kids exactly his age. This was the last year ever that he could be eligible to play in the “majors”. Most parents wanted their kid in the “major” league.
Eventually we settled that I’d bring him to be evaluated for the “major” league, and if they thought he could hack it, I’d consider. But they admitted that if he wasn’t good enough (ie, couldn’t compete with kids who’ve played baseball since they were three) he’d play less often.
Well, what good is that? I put the kid on a league to play, not to sit and not to feel incompetent. Who wants to be the kid who hears a chorus of groans every time he comes up to bat, or frightened cries from his teammates whenever the ball goes out to him in left field? (Note: I’m familiar with this phenomenon, and not from the good side of things either.)
This morning I took him to the evaluation, and the Gatekeeper got in my way and tried to pull Kiddo#1 inside. “Parents aren’t allowed inside. They never have been.”
I explained about the league, Desk Guy, and evaluations. She went and fetched Desk Guy, and then there was a Major League volley of words out on the front steps of the high school because no, they were not going to let me in. And no, I was not going to give them unrestricted access to my son for an hour so they could badger him the same way they’d badgered me just so they’d have an extra set of parents to work the concession stand.
Desk Guy said, “Who’s railroading you?” and I said, “You wouldn’t take no for an answer three times on the phone! This was supposed to be me meeting you halfway.” He and Gatekeeper refused to budge.
So I took Kiddo#1 home. He’ll be in the league where he belongs rather than giving the “major” league another pair of live bodies to fundraise.
And here I thought the real games were on the field.