The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

And They Say It's The Children.  What Is This World Coming To?

by Mitch Worley

June 18, 2008

I spent last week doing something I didn't think I had the gumption to do, which was supervise the activities for children at Vacation Bible School.

Waking up at 8:30 a.m. for me has become very hard after sleeping at the most, three to five hours per night all of last year, and because I am a lazy bum.

The first five minutes after I had stepped foot into the Terre Haute Methodist Church for VBS invigorated me. It was the innocence of the kids, loving life and being carefree.

All in all, that's what being a kid is all about.

An incident occurred between spectators of opposing Little League teams that not only disappoints me, but also compromises the ideals that I was so fondly intrigued by in my observations of the children at VBS.

A couple of young men served as volunteer umpires for a Little League contest over a week ago, which is admirable because it is extremely hard for coaches to find umpires for summer league games.

The downside to this is the fact that parents and coaches tend to think they can manipulate their young, fragile psyche and bully them one way or another into calling things in their team's favor.

Throughout the course of the game, the young men probably made a mistake or two, but nothing you wouldn't come to expect in a summer league game from amateur officials who are umpiring the game out of the goodness of their own heart and because they love the game.

Every summer league game has an argument and a bit of gamesmanship, but this occurrence was a bit outside of ridiculous.

A father of one of the visiting team's players had been on the home plate umpire most of the game.

The young man continued to consistently call the game, ignoring the problematic parent because as aforementioned, this behavior is common nomenclature at a summer league game.

Eventually, the man crossed the line in critiquing his judgment and it began to anger the home crowd as they blasted right back.

This behavior ensued as the game went along, making the situation much worse and putting more pressure on the umpires to make perfect calls to avoid things getting completely out of hand.

A few members in both crowds continued on until the end of the game, leading to the man that began the fracas being asked to leave the premises by those in charge of the La Harpe Summer Leagues.

I don't have a lot to say about this besides it's embarrassing. You're adults, so act like it!

Honestly, I think it would be a fair assessment that none of the children participating in that game will ever be playing any form of professional baseball and few, if any, will even play collegiately.

The games are played so the children can have fun participating, being around their friends, and learning how to get better at playing the game they love, rather than learning that arguing over trivial matters such as the outcome of a Little League game with no implications whatsoever is acceptable.

Stop acting like children yourselves, and be good examples for future generations so we don't continue to perpetuate this outlandish practice.

With things like this happening, it's not hard to figure out why it's so hard to find someone to volunteer their time to be an umpire.

Let the kids have fun and don't teach the children how to become hotheads.

Besides, there are already too many Lou Pinella's and Bobby Cox's with a short fuse in baseball.

Why try to add any more?