(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Attention 14U Travel Softball Coaches -- Player Looking for Team

"I just got relocated from California and am looking for a team for my daughter.  She's a 13 year-old, finishing 7th grade, is 5'10", has home run power, but her passion is pitching.  She throws now in the low-to-mid 50's, can locate a fastball, change up, screwball and drop curve and is working on a rise ball.  We live in the Mercer/Bucks area, and we'd like to find an "A" travel team for her to compete on this summer.   We literally just arrived, so I'd be interested in any information you can share with me.  Thank you."


I always wanted to post something like that on the regional softball message boards, making bets with my friends as to the "over and under" as to how many travel programs and then, within programs, how many travel coaches would contact me about, perhaps, the Sidd Finch of travel softball players.  After all, sending an e-mail doesn't cost much, although you must figure that if a dad had that elite a travel player, he'd have done his research and figured out which programs to contact.  Then again, all programs have their politics, their protected players, etc., but, then again, it would seem that most coaches would drop their worst pitcher to pick up a player like this.

And what does that say about travel programs?  About travel coaches?  About loyalty to organizations or the lack thereof?  Many would drop their best friend's kid if they could get a meal ticket like this who could help the team fare better on Saturdays (seeding day) and play deeper into Sundays (i.e., the more games you win, the better).  Many would take a kid with a 50-mile commute who couldn't practice with the team during weekdays instead of a neighborhood kid who practices hard if the player is a difference maker.  The reasoning?  "Everyone does it."  And since when is that a good reason?

The player, of course, does not exist, at least not that I know of.  Given that there are about 310 million people in the U.S., it stands to reason that some girl somewhere moved to a softball-mad area, has skills and is looking for an elite team.  My advice to the parents is to protect your player if she's that good and try to get on the coaching staff.

But if she did exist. . . what would the "over and under" be?  10 teams?  30 teams?


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