I didn't have a particular interest in coaching, not tee-ball anyways (I'm a hockey guy). However, when my wife "suggested" I coach my little one in tee-ball - I didn't have much choice in the matter. So I agreed and became the coach of the Green Dragons, a rag-tag tee-ball team of 5 and 6 year old's who were getting their first taste of America's Pastime.
As the season drew closer, I started to warm to the idea of being "Coach Bart". I told myself that this was a way to give back to the community and do my part to get kids back to normal after a year of wearing masks, social distancing and staring at their iPads all day. This, I believed (and still do) was a very worthy use of my time.
The season started and what I thought was going to be a chill way to bond with my kid and spend some time outdoors has become somewhat of a source of frustration and near bouts of rage. First off, I quickly learned that I am NOT one of the "connected dads" who have relationships with the people who run the league and build, in-essence, tee-ball juggernauts. No, as a first time coach and someone who is generally pretty disinterested in "making connections" I got stuck with the kids that the "connected dads" didn't want. So, yeah, my team sucks. Every game, I have one or two kids literally tell me that they hate baseball, they don't want to play and they can't wait for the game to be over.
The rest are very little and try their best, but are still trying to figure out the rules to a pretty complicated game.
But whatever, at this age - it's not about winning and each player on my team is getting better (probably because I am an amazing coach). Each game they seem to understand the rules better, they hit better, field better and even seem to be enjoying baseball, a little.
So, despite my initial reluctance, I'm really loving the chance to work with these kids. Seeing the look of pride and satisfaction on their faces when they get a hit or catch the ball is one of the most rewarding things I've ever experienced.
"So what's the big problem then, why write this blog?" You ask.
Well it's the "connected dads" who stack their teams with older kids, scream during games and wear custom coach uniforms - they're something else. I'm not talking about coaches that are simply just trying to help their teams get better and I'm not talking about coaches that just don't subscribe to the "participation trophy" culture of today's youth (myself included). I'm talking about douchebag dads who act like they're Bill Belichick on the sidelines during the Super Bowl.
Now, I'm not a violent person. I don't have any particular desire to beat up another dad. But the some of these hardos drive me insane. I'm one overly enthusiastic fist pump away from firing a baseball at one of their heads and seeing what happens next.
For example - in our second game of the season we played what is probably the "best" team in our league, coached by what I can only describe as "guy at your gym who occupies three sets of weights, but walks around and talks to everyone".
His team had a full roster of 10 kids, who were all a year older than my team. Oh, and I only had 5 kids show up.
At the time, I didn't think much of the disparity. We don't keep score, none of the kids are out unless a fielder somehow, by the grace of God, is able to make an out at first base.
We will play and go home, I thought - but then the game started and Coach Hard-on starting high stepping down the first baseline every time one of his gargantuan six year old's got a hit OFF A TEE.
I threw him a "are you fucking kidding me" shrug and went back to trying to get my second baseman to take his hands out of his pants.
Still, things didn't get heated until this douchebag suggested that one of my smallest batters "just take first base" after swinging and missing a few times.
That's when a sharp "why don't you calm down" escaped from my lips, dripping with condescension and the implied subtext that I had, in fact, had enough of his bullshit.
Maybe his intentions were pure, but by then I was feeling protective of my team and didn't appreciate him singling out this player for "pity". If he had stepped up and tried to throw down, I wouldn't have hesitated to fight him in front of 15 children.
He didn't though, he gave me a "go fuck yourself" hand waive and we finished the game without incident.
Not all of the coaches in this league are as bad as this guy was, but there are enough of them that take shit way too seriously for tee-ball. One guy kept score, when we weren't supposed to keep score. One guy let his batters take two bases, instead of only one - which is the rule.
One called my kid out at first base when the play was, at best, a tie - which goes against the entire premise of fucking Tee Ball.
It feels almost inevitable that, one of these days, shit is going down. I am mentally preparing myself for the moment when I go nose to nose with a douche-dad and start throwing fisticuffs. Or in other words, I'm slowly becoming Randy Marsh and there is little I can do to stop it:
Now the outcome of such a bout is critically important. If you're a dad and you beat up another dad in front of kids - you're an instant LEGEND.
You will forever be a known as a badass to all kids in that school system, who now know not to fuck with your kid because you might beat the shit out of their dad too.
So if you're looking for me, I will be studying MMA clips on YouTube, pondering whether or not I should break the arm if my opponent refuses to submit (I would totally break the arm, it would add to my mystique).
Until next time (pending whether or not I am in jail or the hospital), happy Wednesday and God Bless America.