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The Crosby Chronicles: Equal time for Little League players

April 24, 2013|By Brian Crosby
  • Columnist Brian Crosby
Columnist Brian Crosby

Those of you with kids in little league right now are familiar with the usual to-do list: buying the gear, bringing the snacks, rushing to all the practices and games, and dealing with coaches who favor their own children over yours.

Such favoritism is epidemic in youth sports. While there are a few coaches who don’t play favorites, too many do just that. There seems to be an unwritten approval that those parents who donate their time coaching teams get to do what they want with their players even if it means that their own children get preferential treatment.

In order to have a team play for Burbank Parks, you need to already have a team formed. This means that any father (or mother) can get all of his child’s friends together and call it a team. Burbank Parks may provide general guidelines but appears not interested in mandating that coaches play young kids equally.

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The National Alliance for Youth Sports has developed the National Standards for Youth Sports which Burbank Parks uses as a guide.  Standard #8 states that “leagues must encourage equal play time for all participants.”  In reality, player playing time and player positions are at the whims of the coach.  Therefore, if a parent is unlucky to have a stubborn coach whose only interest is his own child’s welfare and those of his best buddies, all other children are out of luck.

What these coaches don’t realize or care about is that many parents sit in the stands for two hours to see their child participate, but often only see their child hit once or play defense an inning or two. That is pure selfishness on the part of the coaches who are too absorbed maximizing playing time for their own children.

Typically, the coach’s son isn’t the best ballplayer, yet game after game that child bats first and only plays infield or is the main pitcher or catcher.

I don’t get coaches who have a set line-up of third graders as if it’s the Dodgers. I’ve seen the same kids bat last game after game meaning that the coach’s son gets two at-bats while those near the bottom of the line-up only get one. In other words, the coach’s favorites get twice the amount of batting experience.  How does this translate into “equal play for all participants”?

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