Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Brutal Youth

When I was in college at Emerson in Boston, I played baseball for my college team.

We weren't good.

We played only fall baseball and in the two seasons I played we won two games. We were 2-18. To really put it into perspective, we lost to teams like the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. Yes. That's right. We lost to would-be pharmacists.

Like I said...we weren't good.

Through the years I have been on dominant teams and doormats.

In high school I ran on a track team that won the league championship in seven of eight possible seasons. As a youth I played on a soccer team that won one game.

But I've never been on a team like the Rosemont College's softball team. I have to tip my hat to these women. Game after game was brutal on their way to an 0-25 record. This is how bad the season was -

Thanks to the so-called mercy rule, none of the Ramblers' games were allowed to go past the fifth inning.
Many of the games were lost by scores of 33-0, 19-0, and so on.

Like my experience at Emerson, these young ladies play for a Division III school with no scholarships to attract the high end athletes, they suffered through some rough seasons. In the last two the team is a combined 1-48.

The bottom line - they might not be the most talented team, but they approach the game right, as does the coach:

"Quit? No, I never felt like quitting at all," said Tammy Do, 21, a junior from Philadelphia who was 0-11 as one of two pitchers on the squad. "I couldn't be more proud."

Karen Boyle, 19, a freshman infielder from Swarthmore, feels the same way. "It's hard to explain," Boyle said. "It has definitely made me stronger, and it helped make me realize that winning isn't everything."

None of the players, however, is more proud of the team than Long, in his third year as head coach.

"This was by far the best group of girls I've ever coached," Long said. "They stuck up for each other, and they never once got down on each other. I have never had a team bond like this. These kids have character."

I feel for this team.

When I was still teaching, I was the head coach of a middle school football team. We had a total of 21 players on the team (at any given time) during my two year tenure (ended because I moved out of the area). We went 2-13 those two years. We were undersized, we couldn't run an 11 on 11 scrimmage, we had a lot of players who had never played before.

In spite of all that, the kids gave up less than five points per game. I believe the average was 4.7.

Unfortunately we had trouble on the offensive side of the ball.

But the kids were like the women at Rosemont. Not a single kid quit. I was proud of them, still am.

Sometimes sports can be brutal when a youth. That doesn't mean that we can't learn from being on a bad team.

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