Tens of thousands of viewers have now seen a video of local T-ball spectators engaging in a knock-down, drag-out fight at Parque de Vida. The video is embarrassing for the whole community, because everyone – yes, everyone – knows that’s not what’s supposed to happen.
For those readers who don’t have young athletes at home, let us refresh your memory: T-ball is for the youngest. It provides the most rudimentary introduction to baseball. It has no pitchers, no umpires, no scorekeeping, no potential to earn full-ride college scholarships or a major-league tryout.
It’s about fun.
It’s about teaching the rules of the game, like which base is first and how to behave when things go wrong.
For adults in the stands, it ought to be all about setting an example of sportsmanship and civility – not brawling. That’s the most basic of expectations: No out-of-control behavior at your kid’s T-ball game. No punching, no kicking, no hairpulling, no spitting, no swearing, no shouting at coaches, athletes or other spectators. No reason to call the cops.
Just behave like an adult, please.
The problem isn’t that the combatants were women. Men have been behaving badly since long before the invention of baseball; that’s no reason for women to take up the practice. Someone ought to be setting an example for young athletes. In fact, everyone should.
Fortunately, someone is. Many, many parents and friends sit calmly on the sidelines and encourage youngsters from both teams. Every time the bat connects with the ball, they say, “Good hit!” When a runner doesn’t beat the ball to the base, or mistakenly heads for third, they say, “Next time!” When the game is over, they say, “I could tell you really tried hard.” That’s what kindergarten-age athletes need.
Mostly, they need good role models who know how to resolve even their most passionately felt differences, civilly. Unfortunately, calm civility is not nearly as exciting or as memorable as a fistfight.
The world offers plenty of bad behavior for youngsters to copy. Our children deserve better from their fans.