Little league is the purest form of baseball there is. No performance enhancers, no overpaid big shots with egos larger than their heads, and there's no money involved. It's just baseball. And that's the beauty of it. It's an outlet for kids to have fun, learn some much-needed life lessons, and just to be a part of something that they love. Unfortunately, the genius people behind the League Of New Haven in Connecticut has put a limit on talent.
If you haven't read or heard already, nine year old Jericho Scott has been told he can't pitch anymore because "he's too good". That is the actual explanation. His fastball is said to top around 40 mph with great control. Not only that, but Jericho's team will have to disband because of this. And when Jericho's team (Wilfred Vidro is the coach) refused and put him on the mound in their latest game, the opposing team walked off the field and left the park. So here we have it: A kid getting called out, singled out, and ruled out because he successes at something more so than the other kids.
"He's never hurt any one," Vidro said. "He's on target all the time. How can you punish a kid for being too good?"
When you first hear it, it makes no sense. After you hear it some more, it still makes no sense but you can see the reasoning behind it. The reasoning is still moronic and sad, but you can see it. This is a mix of a few things. Adults getting too involved in a children's game and the fact that America has been frightened to death to tell kids they can't do something or another child is better than them. This is the Blues Clues/ "You can do anything and everything you want to do!" generation. Parents are telling their little ones more than ever that you can succeed no mater what you try. I'm not saying that kids shouldn't dream, but people can not do anything and everything. It's better to be straight to kids and tell them what they can do and can't do so they can focus on that. Instead, kids think they can do anything and never face rejection. They grow up to become cocky or overly sensitive. Sounds like most of society really.
This is an extreme example; which is sad because it's real. I feel sorry for Jericho here because he's on the other side of the coin. He's told he can't play because he's too good. He makes the other player's PARENTS upset because they're seeing their kids failing and they don't like it. So, now you're not allowed to be good. You should be great and always give 110%, but you still must be like everyone else. Sticking out is no allowed or else you can't play.
"I feel sad," Jericho said. "I feel like it's all my fault nobody could play."
Not only that, but you're crushing the spirit of a great, young talent too. Jericho has nothing to feel bad about and I hope his team continues to boycott this horrible decision by a group of "adults" running the New Haven League. Jericho's mother Nichole Scott has been very noisy about this whole ordeal and I can't say I blame her. But what about the league's response? Behold:
"He is a very skilled player, a very hard thrower," League Attorney Peter Noble said. "There are a lot of beginners. This is not a high-powered league. This is a developmental league whose main purpose is to promote the sport."
How can you rightfully support the pure game of baseball when you punish a pitcher for excelling at something? "Well what if the other kids don't like it?", you might say. Then the parents have to sit them down and tell them that sometimes, some people are better than others and the best thing to do it to keep practicing and give it your all. But most won't do that because their kid is just as good as everyone else and he/she doesn't need any realism.
"Facing that kind of speed is frightening", Noble continued...
He says it like Jericho is a young Pedro Martinez, a hot-headed headhunter who just goes for the helmet. Yet Jericho has never hit anyone before and no one has ever complained about that. And while the league has said he can pitch at a high level once he reaches it or he can change positions, that doesn't undo anything.
Failure is a part of life. Everyone fails multiple times in their lives, even Jericho Scott has and will. And I'm not saying to always expect failure and not to try hard, but everyone is so afraid of rejection and failure that feelings matter the most now. What happened to when people realized that they fell down, faltered and then got back up, dusted themselves off, and tried again? And if that doesn't work, move on and try something different. But now, that's not possible. Because my kid can do anything and everything they want! So to avoid that, we punish the person who is "too good". What's going to happen to Jericho Scott now? Is he ever going to try as hard because when he does try hard he's an outcast. Or well he try to be like everyone else and push his immense talent down? I hope he doesn't. I hope he keeps going out there and keeps blowing away hitters with that 40 mph heater. God forbid, one person having more talent than another person.
No one has handled this right except for Jericho Scott. The league has embarrassed their standards, the coach of the team that walked off the field has the smell of a spineless individual, and Nichole Scott is out of control and calling in her lawyer. Jericho Scott is on the sidelines, watching it all unfold, confused as someone can be. He's the only civil person here. He was just having fun, playing baseball, and trying his hardest. Discouraging a young kid from chasing his dreams and having fun because he's making the other kids look bad with his talent is one of the worst things you can do to a heart and mind.
Jericho deserves a whole lot better. The people behind this train wreck need to grow up by letting Jericho be Jericho; 40 mph fastball and all.