This is just another over-the-top case of advocates for protecting children’s self-esteem at all costs that will contribute to a generation of thin skinned whiners who cry every time life is mean to them. How are kids supposed to learn how to deal with criticism, even the mean-spirited kind, if they are never exposed to it? If anything, this could result in more violence in later life as adults who have never learned to deal with taunting finally encounter it and go postal because they never learned how to give it back, or to deal with the way it makes you feel.
This kind of over-protection strikes me as bad parenting in itself. And I don’t even have any kids!
They had banned this kind of chatter when my kids played. It must be chapter by chapter, or something. I thought it was kind of sad, too, and also bad for baseball (though not necessarily Bad For Baseball). Younger kids are extremely distractable, and it’s hard to verbally abuse someone without paying attention to them.
I remember the columnist Mike Royko always hated Little League because of this sort of thing. He was of the opinion that kids should form their own games, like they did when he was a kid and played something that vaguely resembled softball.
Gotta say I disagree with the OP 100%. The way to grow healthy and well-adjusted adults is not to be cruel to them as kids “for their own good.” I received more than my share of taunts and cruelty when I was a kid, and it didn’t make me thick skinned. It made me bitter.
If you truly believe that bullying a kid is good for him, then rest assured that other kids will find a way to do so. There is no need to enshrine such asinine behavior in organized institutions.
It seems that this has very little to do with self esteem and everything to do with poor sportsmanship.
The world never ended for people on the receiving end of these timeless chants. What I would guess that happened is that the kids saw their favourite pros acting out after some minor slight. Monkey see, monkey do and all that.
It would probably be better to stop the kids from watching ESPN more than anything else.
I worked with elementary school kids for two years, and, of course, was one once upon a time. Taunting is one aspect of bullying. Kids that are bullied are taunted more frequently, and more ruthlessly.
But in terms of the OP, I think a good umpire or coach can tell the difference between light-hearted taunting that is a natural part of competitive sports, and the sort of taunting that crosses the line. It should be up to those adults to draw the line. Unfortunately, these adults frequently abdicate that duty.
Quite a bit. It’s not like every batter is going to be taunted equally. Kids have a real skill at singling out the weak and vulnerable. The kids who are likely to get pushed around in the school hallways are also the ones who are likely to get the worst taunts on the field. And the taunts won’t be sportsmanlike and impersonal. They’re going to be cruel.
I take it from your OP that your weren’t bullied much as a kid, but you did your fair share of bullying. I had the opposite experience.
When I was around ten, I was forced to attend summer camp. The camp was very heavily oriented towards softball. The explicit message sent was that your value as a human being was directly correlated to your skills at hitting and catching. I realize now that I was a good kid, good at a great many things, but sports was not one of them. I didn’t realize it back then. All I knew was that I sucked at sports and that made me a bad person. And every single kid in that camp – as well as my counsellor – reminded me of it every single minute of every day.
The taunts on the field just reinforced that. The were very personal. And most of those taunts came from my own teammates.
No, it didn’t build my character. It tore it down. Every. Fucking. Day.
Where in the world did you get that? Project much, tdn? For the record, I was very small as a child, received more than my share of taunting, and was in no position to play the bully. But my experience was different than yours; I didn’t allow it to warp my life well into adulthood. Let it go.
Oh, come off it. I never said that it warped me well into adulthood. Perhaps it’s you that’s projecting. I’ve dealt with it, and I’m over it. But I still remember it. And I remember that it was not a good thing. It was not good for me.
I can’t believe that anyone could mourn the loss of this kind of shit.
When I was coaching kid’s sport I used to tell the kids that the more attention you paid to the opposition, the more you fortified them. If you get someone out and run around like excited children you give them the message that you were scared of them. If you mouth off at them you tell them the same thing. So we adopted the West Indies cricket team (circa 1970s) persona. You get someone out and you act ho-hum as though it were your due, a few low key high fives and back to work.
Indeed. Next thing you know they’ll be prohibiting kids from throwing cups, batteries, etc., at players on the field; disallowing players from charging into the bleachers to assault their “fans”; and in the most egregious application of pantywaist nannyism, banning parents from engaging in drunken brawls with the coaches and each other.
I’ve never liked the idea of taunting the opposing team in any sport, it just comes across as really bad sportsmanship. It’s one thing to cheer for your own team but it’s another thing entirely to try and put off the opposing team (I’m assuming that’s what the chants were about).
As a “self esteem” thing it does seem a bit daft, but in order to not promote bad sportsmanship I’m all for it (if I’m right about the chants you were talking about being intended to put off the opposing team).
Chatter isn’t bullying because it isn’t personal and it’s rarely mean-spirited. It’s just part of the game designed to a.) hopefully disrupt the batter’s timing and b.) keep the fielders’ heads in the game and keep them on their toes. The chants are usually more silly than anything else. If a chant or piece of chatter does become overly personal or mean then it’s the manager’s job to shut that down. Banning all chatter is overkill. Chatter is more a positive part of the game than a negative one. It helps with team bonding and focus and it’s almost never malicious. It has more to do with the defense psyching themselves up to make a play than it does with trying to hurt or humiliate a batter.
I also think that if the batter himself is getting his feelings hurt by chatter (especially by generic, impersonal chatter), then maybe he has some learning and maturing to of his own.
Infield chatter is silly. We all did it when we were in Little League. To be honest, I never heard it while batting. Not that it wasn’t being done, but you tune it out and concentrate on the pitch. It isn’t taunting since it’s done to everybody. If we protect kids from anything but good words, they’ll not be able to handle life as adults. Not everybody loves you, not everybody wants you to succeed. Might as well learn it on a ball field.