July 15, 2005

"He wanted to win.": Kid coach pays player $25 to injure teammate before game so coach would not have to play him.

posted by graymatters to culture at 05:18 PM - 18 comments

Oh my god. That's a whole lot of levels of f*cked up.

posted by grum@work at 05:30 PM on July 15, 2005

Eight years old? This is sick.

posted by owlhouse at 05:55 PM on July 15, 2005

I would love to smack this guy in the head a couple of times.

posted by stofer71 at 11:43 AM on July 16, 2005

The coach wanted to circumvent the rules which force a manager to play every kid on the team for at least a couple of innings. Most leagues have these sorts of rules, and having been a baseball coach for many years, I wholeheartedly agree with them. There's nothing worse than an overzealous coach who cares more about his won/loss record than whether the kids are enjoying themselves. However ... Warning -- insensitive comments to follow While this is absolutely despicable, can I just say I don't think having an eight-year-old mentally disabled kid on the field with other fully able kids is such a hot idea? I know we're all for inclusion and all that, but isn't there a pretty spectacular chance of this kid getting drilled by a batted ball or a throw anyhow? Is it fair to the other kids that they may have to hold back so they don't hurt the disabled boy? I wasn't a child star or anything, but I could whip the ball around pretty well when I was eight. While it didn't change the way I played, I did always flinch at the thought of firing a throw from short to first when one of my teammates who was simply less gifted at baseball than I was was over there. Now, you can't keep a kid off a team just because he happens to stink on ice, and hell, I wouldn't want to. Some of my favorite players have been the ones who couldn't put their hands in a mitt when they showed up for the first practice. By the end of the season, we had figured out what his or her strength was and played to that. But if a child really has little to no chance of physical improvement, stands an excellent of getting hurt and negatively affects the game around him or her to the point of diminishing the fun of the other players? I just don't know. And yes, I'm fully aware for going to hell for saying this. Is it okay that I plagarize from my own blog? I wrote this while I couldn't post to SpoFi for some reason.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:58 AM on July 16, 2005

I agree with wfrazerjr on this one. I have (had...one died at the state home in Ft. Worth) two mentally disabled brothers and have work with Special Olympics for years. While it is important to integrate all people into society, not every person is capable of competing in every level of sport. For the protection of those less able, parents or caretakers have to use common sense. That being said, this particular coach should have his fucking ass kicked. What kind of person pays to have anyone, much less a disabled kid, injured so he won't have to take the field for an inning or get his one at bat? These are kids for chissakes. Is winning really that important?

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 12:14 PM on July 16, 2005

The coach should be punished severly for what he did. The paents of the "Downs" child should think twice about where their child goes for his recreation. Which leads me to this point--- This story is this flip side to those ever-popular stories of mentally disabled athletes participating. The disabled Wrestlier who "pinned" his opponant, foot ball player allowed to score a touchdown., in basketball to make a basket. These are all great stories, but the hard truth remains--most mentally disabled folks shouldnt be allowed to particapte in "normal" cause they can't handle it. "mainstreaming" is a wonderful concept, but we must be realistic!

posted by daddisamm at 12:47 PM on July 16, 2005

Guys - It's T-ball. I played T-ball as a kid, and I sucked. Badly. I would say it's safe to say I sucked multiple asses at T-ball. I was still allowed to play, and I never got injured. Granted, I'm not developmentally disabled (as far as any of you know), but I'm pretty sure that T-ball is the most rudimentary form of baseball, and the whole point is that none of those kids are throwing heat or smashing the ball out of the park. T-ball is the lowest rung on the baseball ladder. Very few of the kids have the ability to do anything on the field that could injure a teammate. It's about learning to play a game as a team and getting pizza or ice cream afterwards, not kicking ass and taking names. I'm kind of surprised at you guys for saying what you have. I'm not disparaging you all or anything - I can see your points, but I just can't agree in this case. If a disabled kid sucks at baseball, keep him at T-ball level until he's good enough to graduate to Little League. As much as I love the un-P.C. hilarity of Retarded League Baseball, there just ain't no such thing in most areas. Let the kid play T-ball for Chrissakes. If you're concerned about a developmentally disabled kid "holding his teammates back" at T-ball, you're just being way too fucking competitive.

posted by Samsonov14 at 01:25 PM on July 16, 2005

Yeah, this is T-Ball, not the world series. at this level is it not about participation? This coach my be passionate about winning but really that shouldn't be the emphasis at that level. And while having this child on this team can present obvious concerns I would think that hurting the kid is certainly not the way to deal with them.

posted by gspm at 01:44 PM on July 16, 2005

I liked the "won't be coaching next year" line in the article. I think what they meant to add was "because he will be in jail."

posted by Joey Michaels at 02:09 PM on July 16, 2005

Is there any indication that this mentally disabled kid was that much worse than the rest of the kids on the team? I mean, if he's standing out in right field and picking flowers or staring at the clouds...well, he'd be like a lot of 8-year old kids standing out in right field.

posted by grum@work at 04:16 PM on July 16, 2005

This is all a sick product of parents living vicariously through their children. Yes, the disabled child perhaps should not have been on the team, but this is supposed to be CHILDREN'S t-ball, not even little league. Childrens sports should be fun and recreational and be about developing the child''s athletic and social skills, not about making them fear failure. I quit little league baseball because my coaches managed to make it completely unfun. Quite frankly, I'm not that surprised something like this happened, except that rather than being ignorant and mean-spirited like most coaches, this guy is completely evil. In an ideal world, t-ball would be fun, the parents would be relaxed, and children would get some exercise and learn to respect each other's differences. Alas.

posted by insomnyuk at 04:37 PM on July 16, 2005

I haven't done an extensive t-ball survey, but it seems to me that most kids at that stage are just beginning to get the idea of playing a game, versus just playing around. That's why t-ball was invented, I expect: apart from safety issues (and the consideration that very few "pitchers" at that level could get the ball across the plate reliably), by eliminating pitches you take away much of the "you do that then I do this and they do that and I go there" dimension of the game, which would probably leave most kids that age hopelessly confused, whether they were cevelopmentally disabled or not. That being the case, I don't think that being developmentally disabled per se puts a kid in a position where he/she would be in danger while playing the game. I wonder what kind of sentence this guy will get?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:45 PM on July 16, 2005

I think $25 was a little high.

posted by smithnyiu at 11:03 PM on July 16, 2005

A few follow-up points: 1) I'm not sure what sort of league this is where kids are playing T-ball at eight years old. I never played T-ball, and most eight-year-olds are playing coach-pitch or pitching machine. 2) lbb, your assumption is incorrect. T-ball is definitely designed to be baseball lite, but you are generally going to get one or two kids who are as advanced as the other kids are, well ... not. Those advanced kids can whip the ball around really well and smack it off the tee with authority. That means there's a pretty good chance someone's going to get bonked with a throw or a line drive. That chance, I would think, is much, much greater for a child who simply doesn't have the same coordination. Because of that, I think some of the kids are naturally going to hold back in throw the ball to a player with a mental disability, in effect diminishing the game for them. Is it fair to them to lessen the game for them to have one handicapped child included? Also, how does it affect the players when one of them does injure the challenged player simply through playing the game? How do you tell your son or daughter, "Well, it's fine that Billy over there has a busted nose and is bleeding everywhere. You just threw the ball normally, but he's not really able to catch it. If you get the ball, you just go ahead and fire it over there again." Think your kid isn't going to be affected by that, no matter what you say? 3) Inclusion is good up to a point. There shouldn't be segregation of mentally handicapped people in situations where there's no danger to them. But when it adversely affects the rest of the population around that person ... different story. I feel the same way about inclusion of mentally challenged kids in regular classrooms. It's okay for that kid, but it ends up retarding the growth of the rest of the class. If you don't believe me, ask a teacher placed in that situation. 4) If the kid's playing right field all the time, he's really not being included, is he? I always make it a point that every kid on the team gets to try at least a few different positions. That has a threefold effect -- it keeps parents from bitching, it allows the kids to experience the game from many angles, and it also shows some of them that hey, you just aren't a pitcher or a shortstop. Can I cycle a retarded child through that? No, I can't. That's not really inclusion then, because I can't treat him or her the same way as I treat the rest of the players.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:55 AM on July 17, 2005

you are generally going to get one or two kids who are as advanced as the other kids are, well ... not. Yeah, but the average t-ball player isn't. They're average. And regardless of natural skill, you have a number of kids who pick flowers or whatever in the outfield (think Calvin in Calvin & Hobbes, the kids in Bloom County, etc. for my source evidence). I think mainstreaming is an incredibly important thing, but I guess the real flip side you're talking about lbb is that some kid has to be pinned and the problem with mainstreaming is we're asking young children to treat disabled kids equally, something we as adults are struggling with. It's wonderful in the abstract to see a disabled kid win, but it's gotta be tough to bring the kid that lost home and explain he should just ignore the teasing on the bus tomorrow.

posted by yerfatma at 01:50 PM on July 17, 2005

I feel the same way about inclusion of mentally challenged kids in regular classrooms. It's okay for that kid, but it ends up retarding the growth of the rest of the class. If you don't believe me, ask a teacher placed in that situation. I am a teacher who has been placed in that same situation. It absolutely does NOT "retard" the growth of the rest of the class. If anything it helps the children. The term "inclusion" doesn't just pertain to the handicapped kids. The kids in school today are going to have to grow up with handicapped kids, if they don't learn how to handle some of these situations properly at a young age, they will grow up like a lot of the people on this thread. The rest of the kids that aren't developmentally delayed, learn that those kids arenít monsters, and arenít all that much different. They don't sit in their desk and drool. They participate along with the rest of the kids, sure they might not understand things as fast as the other kids, but they see the other kids doing it, and it helps them learn. It's easier for them to figure things out when they see other kids doing it, rather then an adult showing them. The reason some teachers complain about it is because it take more patience. Usually the teachers that complain, are the teachers that decided to become a teacher for the summers off, and great hours. I bet if YOU were at the game, you wouldn't even be able to tell which kid was handicapped. They were probably all picking grass, or playing around with their glove.

posted by kingosiris at 02:35 PM on July 29, 2005

Just for my own part, I remember when I was in little league, we had a severely dumb kid (This was in BFE Kentucky, I assume he'd be retarded in Pennsylvania.) that was the T-ball pitcher. (The least important position in T-ball.) The coaches kept telling him to pay attention, so he didn't get beaned, etc... And one day, since I was a good hitter, they told me to whistle one past his ear. Let's just say I didn't hit him, but I came alot closer than intended. The kid shat himself, and the coaches about wore their arms out patting me on the back. Until reading this story, I have to admit, it was marked down in my memory as a good un'. My perspective has changed entirely. I guess my only other point is that this is nothing new.

posted by LostInDaJungle at 03:59 PM on July 29, 2005

Competitive, non-humanitarian angle: If you're 8 and still playing T-ball, you're not very good and have no business complaining about anyone on the field, good or bad. That goes triple for the "manager", who probably deserves 90 days. It has nothing to do with being overcompetitive. That's just someone being unnecessarily nasty because he doesn't want to deal with someone who's different.

posted by jackhererra at 05:07 PM on July 29, 2005

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