Apr 2, 2008
Just a moment today on another off-football post. If you read this blog you may recall a soapbox moment of mine last February on how kids need to diversify because they’re generally too into sports these days. I wrote about how I was no longer sweating my oldest kid’s baseball career because it just wasn’t nearly as important as I thought it was. Oh, it would be great if the kid had a nice HS career, but it’s not the end of the world if he doesn’t. More importantly, it behooves parents to point their children to more than one endeavor, and not just sports, just in case the sports don’t work out. Or just in case they hope to be interesting adults.
Well, he played HS ball and Babe Ruth last year and had a solid season. Ironically, his BR team won the county championship, yet he wasn’t there for the big game. He played in all the games leading up to the championship, but after six years of clearing my schedule out in June I decided to book a trip for him and my 10-year old to the mountains to do some hiking and the like. Of course, they made it all the way and he missed it. But when I asked him what he’d rather do, play in the championship or have the weekend, he picked the weekend.
I only bring this up because I’m writing this now here on Wednesday morning in a surgery center. My son had knee surgery on 2/2/08 to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. It’s just now coming back to normal, but he’s not playing HS baseball this year because today they’re doing the same thing on the *other* knee. He’s still eligible for babe ruth, even though he’s a sophomore (he’s not 16 until September), and they are holding his roster spot, but who knows if he’ll throw a pitch or get an AB this year. Next year, he’ll have to make the varsity team as a Junior, which wouldn’t be a problem most likely at all the other high schools in our area only his is a private school (so it draws from 5 different counties) known for it’s sports, so it’s extremely competitive and is loaded with talent.
Good thing he hasn’t put all his eggs in one basket, and he’s immersed with schoolwork and his music. I don’t feel like I predicted the future last February with my post because it holds true for all kids. At some point, 99.9% of child athletes get to a point at which they can no longer play, and they need something to fall back on.
I don’t think his two knee surgeries were a result of overuse, but that didn’t help. I think back to comments I recently heard from legendary sports physician Dr. Frank Jobe on baseball. If you have child who is skilled at baseball, I recommend you follow Jobe’s three tips.
1. Don’t play all 12 months of the year – No matter what the coaches or supposed experts will tell you, there’s a price to pay if you don’t give a kid’s body at least 2-3 months to heal and rest up.
2. Don’t play in 2 leagues at the same time – I was guilty of this, for sure, as my kid play in several travel teams. Two years ago, he played 13 prep, regular babe ruth, legion ball, and on the BR all star team that finished 2nd in South Jersey. That was about 66 games.
3. If he pitches, don’t let him throw curve until he’s old enough to shave – My kid did use it at 12-13, but not that much. More importantly, he pitched too many innings at a young age.