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East Lane Little League



East Lane Little League families,

We are about to start another fun season of Little League Baseball and Softball. We are sure everyone is looking forward to watching the kids have a good time, play some baseball/softball and hopefully learn some life skills on the way.  We hope to get a lot of sun this season, and we hope to see a lot of friends and family out at our ball fields.

We know that as parents you all know what is expected from the fans at a Little League baseball or softball game, but we have plenty of other friends and family out at the fields. So we thought we might lay out some of what is expected so that you can share it with everyone that you will be inviting to watch your kids play.  We think if we all know the expectations and help to hold each other accountable then all of the players and volunteers that make Little League happen will have a great season.

There are two things to remember about Little League that can keep things in perspective.  The first is that Little League is a participation League.  That means everyone plays regardless of skill or age, and there are minimum play requirements.  There are leagues out there where the kids have to make a team and only the best will see a field very often.  Little League is not one of those Leagues.  We want to see every kid have fun, every kid learn attributes like strong character, loyalty and courage, and along the way we would like to see them learn some baseball/softball skill to develop a lifelong love of the game.  However our coaches also have an obligation to balance fun and minimum play with following their duty as a team manager to do everything they can within the rules to help their team win.  Sometimes that means making hard decisions that may or may not lead to the team winning.

The second key point is that EVERYONE making East Lane Little League happen is a volunteer.  Your executive board members, team managers, coaches and team parents are all volunteering their time and in many cases money so your kids can play baseball.  The umpires and board members are also all donating their time.  These umpires and board members deserve your respect for taking time to help make the league a fun.  The fields are maintained by people volunteering their time. Everyone who is volunteering has varying reasons for doing it, but we guarantee that they all revolve around the love of kids, community and playing baseball/softball. 

So, with those two things being said we come out enjoy the Oregon spring, a ball game, and cheering on the kids playing.  While you’re doing that remember not to take it too seriously.  The kids should take the game seriously and give their best effort as a duty to themselves and their team.  You should keep in mind the kids are playing a game.  Keep your language clean and respectful especially to whomever the umpire is.  That's a hard job where only 50% of the people at the game will approve of their decision.  This is a family friendly environment.  Kids are going to drop balls, overthrow balls, not swing at strikes and make a myriad of other mistakes.  Many of them will be devastated at the time of the error and they don’t need to hear more about it from the stands. If you are in the stands then you are not a team manager or coach.  Let the coaches coach and after the game let your child know that you had fun watching them play a great game.  Celebrate with them when they’ve won, and give them all of your support after a tough loss.  Sometimes losing allows for learning some of the best things they'll learn about themselves and the game.

Did the umpire just blow a call?  Maybe, but he or she is the one out there making those decisions so the kids can play the game.  They are in the process of volunteering a couple of hours of their time and all they get out of it is personal satisfaction, maybe a handful of thank you's, and possibly a thank you gift card.  So give them a break.  Was that strike called a ball, was that out called a safe?  Don’t worry about it.  The umpire made a decision and that is the only decision that matters.  If you think you can do better, we wish you had said so sooner.  Then we will encourage you to grab a mask and chest protector from the equipment locker.  We always need more volunteer umpires even if its a field umpire.  Umpiring a game can be stressful, but it can also be incredibly fun and rewarding when helping your player learn to love the game.  

We look forward to seeing everyone this season at our fields. Try to make it your goal to not discuss anything about the game once you leave the field and get in your vehicle to leave, and then we strongly recommend to use that time as an opportunity to talk to them about other important things in their life.  Lastly, we ask that if you need to have a discussion regarding the team management or your player and issues surrounding the game please don't attempt to discuss this immediately before or after a game when everyones' emotions run high.  Wait till the next day or next practice after you've had time to think about it, and ask the coach if you can schedule a time to talk about your player's development.  Alternatively encourage your player to set up a special time for a discussion with their head coach if they want to talk about what the player can do for themselves to improve the value they contribute to the team.  Help them take steps to having challenging conversations that will give them an opportunity to grow their character.

Cheer for the kids and support all the volunteers that make it happen.  

Thank you!
East Lane LL

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