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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Nothing But Fuming

I'm still fuming hours later after my team lost two games at a tournament. The first we had no business losing - two guys thrown out at the plate by an overzealous coach... who did it again in the second game.

And... a botched triple play opportunity.

Runners on first and second, no one out. Batter hits the ball to the 2Bman... the runner on second doesn't move for some reason. All my 2B has to do is tag the runner, step on second base and throw to 1B for a triple play and help the pitcher out of a jam. The score was 4-4 at that time.

But no... despite screaming loud enough for the fans at the other nearby diamond to know what I wanted him to do (tag the guy on second base), he throws to 1B to get one out... runners advance to second and third... and went down hill after that.

I expected to lose this game, but we were playing so well until that point and had a real chance to pull an upset.

It's hard to believe that after five years or more of playing kids don't know what to do. I swear, if I get to pick my own team next year...

Well... what's this got to do with Japan?

Teaching at seven junior high schools in Ohtawara-shi (Ohtawara City) in Tochigi-ken (Prefecture of Tochigi), I had many opportunities to see junior high school teams practice baseball.

I have only ever played baseball two years as an adult... but always hacked around with friends and played everyday in school at recess, lunch and before school... in other words, I had far more baseball experience than MY team does thanks to an inability to do anything outside of organized sports than play video games.

I have no idea what things are like nowadays in Japan re: junior high school baseball... but back then they played ball for about three hours a day six days a week... .which is a lot, but not as much as some Japanese Little League Teams who do that, play have a 10-hour practice on Sunday.

I do recall being invited to play on the Board of Education baseball team against some other local team... my contact lenses were screwing me around... astigmatism in full bloom... and I couldn't hit a damn thing... a completely embarrassing situation for me that day, and probably for my office.

But, even though I sucked as a batter, I played stellar defense... I caught everything hit my way... and this is me without any formal baseball team training... just hacking around.

Nowadays, since my son (a decent player) is involved, I have learned to be a much better hitter... I go out with my son, spend money at the batting cage and hitting clinics, and listen in as he is taught... and now I can hit anything 70mph or slower.

I know I can hit an 80 or 90 mph fastball... I would need maybe 30 pitches to be able to time it, but I know I could hit it... and then my muscle memory would be set from then on...

I know I wouldn't embarrass my BOE office nowadays, even though I'm no longer in shape, have a torn (never healing) meniscus in my knee... but I can play... I just can't.

I just hope that these kids on my team eventually understand that in order to get better at something, you have to practice and practice often. Eventually... they'll regret not being able to play.

It sucks being a coach... but it sucks when you see kids giving an effort, and you realize it could be a greater effort if they actually worked at their craft.

I'm about 15,000 hours in nowadays in writing... well over 3,200 blogs, 100 in the newspaper, 400 magazine articles, and 25 published comic book stories... and I'm still learning... but that's because I practice everyday.

If you have kids... don't have them play organized sports so much, rather take away their tablets, video games and cell phones and tell them to go out and have some fun.

Blah-blah-blah... we'll try again with a better blog about Japan tomorrow after we play another early morning baseball game at the tournament.

Andrew - still fuming and frustrated - Joseph

1 comment:

  1. It's nice that your son can help you on your batting! It will take a lot of practice, but I know you can do it.