Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Ugliness and Death in Youth Sports

As horrifying as this story is, I sadly can picture it. Andrea played softball for eight seasons, and made the all-star squad a few of those years. We saw ugly behavior from some of the "elite" players and especially their parents.

One father was renowned for using foul language, threatening words and being border-line abusive to his own daughter. As talented as his daughter was, no one wanted her on their team. Her dad was undesirable baggage.

Andrea loves the game, but quit a year ago because the pressures got worse as the players got older and closer to potential scholarship money. One girl notoriously tried to bribe her last year with more playing time as catcher in exchange for answers to a science test. Seriously. Andrea laughed at her. We wish churches sponsored girls' softball leagues....she would be the first in line.

Today, from KNBC, the Southern California NBC affiliate....

A 13-year-old boy allegedly killed another teen by hitting him in the head with a baseball bat during an argument at a concession stand after a Pony League game, authorities said Wednesday. Jeremy Rourke, 15, was pronounced dead at a hospital after the Tuesday night attack, said Brenda Shafer, a spokeswoman for the coroner's office.

A homicide investigation was underway, but the younger boy had not been arrested, said Don Manumaleuna, a sheriff's spokesman. Authorities said the boy was detained after the incident.

"He just didn't realize it, it just happened and before you know it and then like I say, I told him, 'What did you do, why did you do that?"' parent Sam Cordova said.

"I could see it in his eyes that it was starting to sink in, oh my gosh, what did I do?" Cordova said. The nature of the argument was unclear. Authorities did not know whether the boys were spectators or members of the baseball teams that had played.

The Palmdale Pony League field has a sign promoting sign-ups for boys 5 to 14 and encouraging parents to "Protect Our Nation's Youth." The city is about 40 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

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