Saturday, July 02, 2011

Cheers or Jeers?

My girls are playing a lot of softball this year.

Fast pitch – with base runners that steal second and third – and line drives and double plays – and some really good pitching.

It’s good stuff.

It’s finally their first year of real ball.

And my girls seem to be catching on nicely.

But they still have that age old problem of keeping their head in the game?

Young minds wander, I guess.

But how do you snap them out of it?

It’s so easy to stand in left center field with your hands on your hip and your glove by your side wondering what Justin Bieber is up to, or what you should wear to the sleep over the next night.

I’m talking about my daughters now, not myself.

Just to be clear.

But both girls have stepped up their play considerably this year. Ashley cracked one all the way to the fence that drove in two runs in a close game – and Alannah continues to surprise everyone as she continues to be in the right place at the right time to make a big play.

And Alannah has also shown herself to be a pretty good pitcher.

But they both still slip into that la la land mindspace when in the field during a game.

And then there are the dugout cheers.

Girl’s softball is full of cheers – coming from the dugout. Very long cheers that are almost complete songs – and our team seems to sing them the loudest …

She stole on you, she stole on you
While you were picking your nose, she was hot on her toes, and she stole on you
What a disgrace …. Right in your face .,.. yeah she stole on you ….”

I don’t care for that one much. But the other teams sing it to.

They must put out a CD or a song-sheet of girl’s fast-pitch dugout cheers because no matter where we go play – both sides are singing the same things. And there are enough of these chants to last an entire six inning game.

It doesn’t seem very sportsman-like, does it?

I’m all for rooting on your players – but these chants cross a lot lines to many in the sportsmanship category.

But then girl’s fast-pitch does seem to bring out the wannabe future pop-stars in these girls.

Sometimes I hear my girls singing these chants around the house, and I interrupt them and say “that doesn’t sound very nice”.

It’s softball Dad! You’re not s’posed to be nice”, replies which ever daughter I interrupt.

Nice, no … but calling the other team a disgrace doesn’t sound good. In fact it would just tick them off, donchathink?


So they will try harder


So if you tick them off and they try harder and they beat you, you look stupid

Every team does it, Dad

The Tigers don’t do it

They’re boys, Dad. This is girls’ softball”, they reply.

Thank goodness they don’t sing these in the big leagues. Could you imagine if the pros sang chants in the dugout during a pennant race?

Hey there hey there number four, you say you don’t use roids no more
But I just saw your trainer stick – a needle in your butt real quick …

True, boys don’t do it. Boys go out and show you. They don’t chide you in a sing-song format – they just whisper it in your ear when standing on first – or at the plate. Perhaps this is a difference between boys and girls?

This year Alannah made the All-Star B-Team for Turtle Club. There are three tournaments coming up in July, one out of town I believe – that she gets to play in. I’m very happy for her because she wanted this so bad, and I know that making such a team will take her to the next level of play – just from the experience of playing against real quality teams.

I hope she pays attention.

I know she will be leading the cheer chants from the dugout.

I’m certain they’ll be chanting from the same chant-book. All the old familiar ones.

But what do these chants say about sportsmanship to little girls? I think it says it doesn’t matter. And I don’t like that very much.

After all, they will all be wearing the big Turtle Club TC on their hats – and their green and yellow uniforms will say Turtle Club across the fronts. And their names will be on their backs.

And they will be singing about disgraced nose picking catchers when they steal a base.

Look, I am all for teaching kids to have a competitive spirit in sports and play to win and not get a trophy or ribbon just for showing up, I really truly am.

Hey number seven, I like your sox. I’d like to get some, do you still have the box?

No, that’s not what I’m talking about at all.

Girls, cheer your team on. Root for them with all the air in your lungs – but there is nothing to be gained by belittling the other team while you do so. Plain and simple – it’s just wrong – and it teaches everything I try to teach my own girls not to do. It undoes what I do.

You might as well just chant:

Hey number six, we think you suck. When I hit it at you, you better duck”.

Good grief.

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