Dimon Kendrick-Holmes

Dimon Kendrick-Holmes: Not about Little League

This is not about Little League baseball.

Sure, most of the kids in Columbus' seven Little Leagues will take the field today for the first time this season. Among them will be the youngest of my three sons, who at 12 is in the twilight of his Little League career.

I've written a lot about youth baseball over the years, and it's rarely been a good idea.

One time, I wrote about one of my son's Little League coaches and explained why he was a good coach. Nobody liked it. The coach I was writing about was so humble he didn't recognize himself, and some of the coaches I wasn't writing about did recognize him and told me that he wasn't actually a very good coach and I should have picked somebody else. They didn't say whom, but I had a pretty good idea.

So I won't mention the very best coach my two oldest boys ever had. He didn't have a son on the team -- maybe that was a coincidence.

During one game, parents were shouting out suggestions of changes he should make to the infield and the batting order and the pitching rotation.

I'll never forget it. He called a time out and walked over to the bleachers and practically stuck his nose through the chain link fence. Then he smiled.

"Remember at the beginning of the season when I asked for volunteers to help me coach?"

Several parents nodded.

"Well, none of you raised your hand," he said. Then he pointed to the parents standing on the field who'd volunteered to help him.

"They raised their hands and I listen to them," he said. "Enjoy the game."

And he turned and walked back to the field.

I thought it was beautiful -- and I was one of the parents on the bleachers. My boys went to the city championship tournament that year and also became significantly better ballplayers.

But I won't name him, because a bunch of people won't agree with me, and the mere mention of him will send some folks into a rage. That's because he was a my-way-or-the-highway kind of guy, and that's not very popular with parents these days. I was raised by a my-way-or-the-highway guy, and in the military I took a lot of orders from a lot of my-way-or-the-highway guys, and I resisted the sometimes overpowering urge to take the highway and I'm a stronger and better person for it.

But like I said, this isn't about Little League, which may be one of the most emotional and divisive topics in our area. When your neighbor's 12-year-old kid has played on ESPN, it's hard to keep things in perspective.

So I'm not going to say you should try not to criticize your kid's batting stance on the way home from the game.

I'm not going to tell you that all your kid wants to hear you say is that you just enjoy watching her play. I'm not going to say that you really should worry more about your kid's math and reasoning skills than his curveball.

The season's starting and nobody wants to hear it, so I won't say it.

Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, dkholmes@ledger-enquirer.com.

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