Ya know, I really do try not to be one of those moms that get disgruntled just because their kid didn't get to play as much as they thought they should. I've never claimed that as good as I believe my children to be that they are the best athletes ever on the team. I've always tried to teach my boys that no matter how unclear it may seem, the coach surely has a master plan for every decision he makes. I've worked hard to instill in my boys a sense of good sportsmanship and respect for the coach, no matter what.
But at this particular moment in time, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to continue preaching that, let alone practicing it, with Jock.
Yes, he made the baseball team when there were others who got cut. BUT.... he made the team as a player, not as one of the managers. He busted his butt to get his one failing grade up to passing in time for the first game of the season (remember the stupid English paper we spent the entire weekend on?), and he made it, too. He has continued to give 110% each and every practice, quite honestly playing circles around some of these other kids. He is respectful to the coach, and often stays after practices to work some more on various things with him. He is always supportive of the rest of his teammates, even the extremely cocky and obnoxious ones. He is the first on the field to congratulate someone on a great hit, as well as the first one on the field at the end of the game to rake the infield.
At practice, he is consistently hitting; and hitting well. He has been proven several times over to be the fastest boy on the team. He can play several positions well, never limiting himself to only one or two positions the coach can use him at.
Now.... ask me how many times my boy has been up to bat in six games. Ask me how many innings he's played ANY defensive position on the field. Go on. Ask.
In six games, he has been up to bat exactly THREE times. In six games, when the average player gets up to bat three times in one game. And he's only been placed in the field ONCE.
And yet, the kid who spent the entire first half of the season ineligible, only pulling a miracle out of his .... ear on the very last day before he would have been cut? He gets to play the entire game his first game back.
Yes, he's used as a "courtesy runner", which if you know anything at all about baseball is a position they only have in Little League and High School. After that, it doesn't exist. Have you ever seen a major league game where the manager tells the umpire he's sending in a courtesy runner? No. What they do is make a substitution, and the player sent in GETS TO STAY IN. But hell, even as a courtesy runner he's only been in a handful of times.
My boy, who loves this sport, is beginning to hate it. He's disillusioned with the idea of "fair play" and is now feeling that his own skills are simply not there. He's always been honest in admitting that there are boys on the team better than he is. All he's asking for is a chance to prove something outside of practice.
And quite frankly, we are at a loss as to understand what reasoning his coach has behind this, if indeed there is any outside of blatant favoritism. In fact, there have been several other parents who have come up to us at the last couple of games and ask us why Jock hasn't been playing. They've watched him at practice. Their sons talk about how Jock should be out there with them on the field, and they are questioning why he isn't. I'm rather scared that there is about to be a somewhat larger than small revolt by the parents against this coach. (No, not just because my son isn't playing. There are a lot of other issues as well. This is just the one that concerns ME the most right now. Maybe if Jock was actually playing more, I'd care more about the other issues.)
I don't know what to do anymore. Jock says that if he goes to the coach with his concerns, he's running the risk of being kicked off the team. While I have no idea if this is true or not, we've suggested he doesn't approach this with a "Why?" question. Rather, we've told him to ask the coach "What can I do to improve my performance and get some field time?" That way it looks like he's taking the responsibility for why he's not been playing. We keep telling him not to quit, that the JV and Varsity coaches are still watching, and will make note of the players who stick with the team despite the difficulties. We remind him that he has good relationships with both the JV coach and the Varsity coach, and things are bound to be different with them. And last, we just remind him not to give one man enough power to take away his love of the game. That coach only has the power over how Jock feels about things if Jock gives it to him.
My heart is breaking for my boy. And there is nothing I can do about it. I can't fight this battle for him, as that only makes things worse. Although, how much less playing time is there from NONE? But we don't want him labeled as the kid with difficult parents for the rest of high school. So we'll keep going to all the games. We'll keep supporting the entire team. We'll still be proud of Jock for being the best he can be, and for knowing that he's supporting his teammates wholeheartedly.
But deep in my mama's heart? Well, all I'll say is that there might be a secret hope or two that someone, not saying who, only that he's been with the team longer than anyone else on the roster.....is standing in the path of the next foul ball. And that it comes flying in at shin level.
(What? I don't want him dead or with a coma-inducing head injury! Just a bruise or two. Maybe a limp for a couple of days.)
*sigh* And yes, I know I'm going straight to hell for that thought.