I’ve heard this complaint a lot from neighbors whose kid moves up in an age group, new on the club, and so forth. They wonder why he doesn’t play as much as his other age classification, and why others get more playing time then him. I also hear how competitive and talented he is for his new advancement, and no better or worse than his teammates.
“So why park the kid on a bench and let him take the field once out of five games or so?”.I listen to a parent ask me.
As sympathetic as I’d like to be, I simply nod, acknowledge how the kid must feel, and then I look for a speedy exit stage right.
Well, beyond the seemingly unfairness of it all, there are solid reasons why a youngster, new to a club, will sit, and sit, and sit. Here are some of those reasons:
- As coaching persuasions go, working with a known playing roster is hard to ignore. After all, as much as the intent of “everyone’s plays”, this can be a hard sell when stacked up against wins and losses.
- Adult coaches can be judged unfairly by their adult counterparts, especially in close-knit communities, religious organizations, social and fraternal settings, and even worse with coaches are compared to their predecessors.
- Parents and others can be very influential sometimes. Those that are perennial fixtures with a league or sponsor and impact who plays and who sits, a lot.
- School baseball carryovers into summer leagues can be shoe in’s for just about any spot, not to mention whether those players have abilities or not.
Aside from all that’s been posted here, a new guy has to earn his stripes, make new friends, and put up with those that were there first. That’s just the pecking order of things a lot of times. And as discouraging as this is, usually after the first season, being a familiar face does have it’s benefits. So, be patient, be mindful of your chances the following season, and your proven track record once you do take the field.
Pitching is the most difficult spot to earn your tenure in this environment. But earn it you must. Just be mindful that someday, you’ll be watching a new kid, sit where you use to sit, waiting his turn, while you hang out with the regulars at the other end of the bench.