Child's Play by Floyd Lewis - Making the Games
By Softball West
Most of us who have daughters playing our great sport make every effort we can to attend every game possible. This is especially true for those involved in travel softball. The land where the drop-and-dash parents dare not tread. Those of us diehards who, for whatever reason, can not make a game, are a little irritable, and feel uncomfortable awaiting word on the outcome of the game. Thank goodness that technology can help sooth our loss.
Ring, Ring. "Hello."
"Hi honey". Just calling to give you an update on the game. We are ahead 1-0 after two innings. Your daughter singled in the first and scored our run on a passed ball."
"That's great! Call back when you have more to report."
While some of us have a real love for the game, there is more at work here than unattached interest in a sport. As we all know, we sometimes live-and-die on every swing of the bat, every pitch or every ball hit to our beloved child. We want to see our baby succeed, and celebrate with her when she does. But we also want to be there to comfort her when she fails.
"We're down 2-1 going to the top of the fifth inning. She struck out her last at bat, with a runner at third and two outs."
"Darn it. How did they get their runs?"
"Betty gave up a two run homerun in the fourth."
"Well, let's hope we can get something going. Call me back if something good happens, or when the game is over."
Casual fans feel bad when their team loses; parents take Prozac. After 12 years of watching my daughter play (and I've attended a lot more of her games than I've missed), I have settled into a nice little comfort zone. I'm at a point where I enjoy watching her perform, accept the fact that she will experience failure, and just be happy that she is doing something that she really enjoys. It's taken a long time to get to this point, but it's a Zen like experience.
"We won 3-2! Your daughter hit a double with two outs in the seventh inning and knocked in the winning run. It was unbelievable."
"Oh, my! That's fantastic! Have her call me when the coaches get done talking to them.
"Your daughter is awesome!"
And yet while the successes are still followed by failures, which in turn are followed by successes, the parent in us is always more prevalent than the fan in us. Because it matters not if it's softball, volleyball, ballet, debate or keeping the crayon within the lines of the picture in the coloring book, we are there, or want to be there, because we love our child and want to support them in what ever they do.
"Hi baby. Congratulations!"
"Thanks Daddy. I wish you could have been here."
"Yes, I wish I could have been there too. I'm so proud of you, great job and great game."
"Thank you Daddy. I love you."
"I love you too baby."
SELLING THE GOLD
I've read Internet postings and spoken to several individuals concerning Nor Cal ASA utilizing a drawing of interested teams to select their second host team for this year's Gold nationals to be held in Salinas. The first of the two permitted host teams, the Salinas Storm, had been previously named via some unannounced method, accepting the National berth that accompanies being a host. In case you have not heard of this development, to be eligible for the drawing, you had to provide $10,000 to Nor Cal ASA if your team was picked.
I am aware of two major objections to this process. Supporters of the Salinas Wildcats voiced one of those objections. Being the only other Gold team from Salinas, the Wildcats felt they should have been chosen. This was a rather self-serving objection in view of the fact that the National was awarded to Nor Cal ASA, not Salinas. Nor Cal is a very large geographical association, encompassing many Gold teams.
But of course the second and major objection was Nor Cal's requirement that the winner of the draw had to pony up some major bucks. However, even beyond the fact that most any Gold team without a berth would be more than willing to pay this tab to play nationals near home, is that helping to fund the event is an accepted method of fulfilling the intent of why there is such a thing as a host team.
The concept of providing the local host association with a "host" berth to a national tournament was for the specific purpose of assisting the association in presenting the national. Having been the director of three ASA Youth Nationals, I can speak directly to the various benefits provided by a host team. I have also attended at least ten other nationals and witnessed how their host teams assisted them. The help provided can take many forms.
Some provide man-hours, working the snack bar, selling souvenirs, prepping fields and housing visiting players. Others improve attendance by having their host team made up of local popular players, or the children of popular people. This is especially successful in areas where the tournament receives great press, like in some areas of Texas. And still others provide assistance by providing funds to help cover the tremendous costs associated with conducting a successful ASA National.
Each of these helps pay the bills one way or another. Each ends up with both sides satisfied with the relationship. All are used throughout the country. Regardless of what you may have thought in the past, may have read in the present, or what you think is right for the future, show me a host team and I'll show you somebody who most likely paid something to someone.
It's qualifying time! Time to gettr' done! As always, you can contact me at email@example.com_and so the ball rolls.