Ok maybe not totally evil...just the complete opposite of good.
Here's the play. Line drive to second, second baseman misses the ball and center fielder backs up second and throws the ball in stopping the runner at 2nd.
Coach Evil yelling from the dugout: "Hey Second Baseman, are we playing baseball? Are you paying attention? Are you watching that game over there? If you are watching that game over there then you don't need to play this one, go over there and sit in the grand stands and watch that game."
Different game, different coach, same play.
Coach Good yelling from the dugout: "Way to back that up Center. Thats what I'm talking about thats baseball right there! Way to be there! Good Backup!"
And that in a nutshell this is Gabe and Eli's coaches this year. One has Coach Good and the other Coach evil.
One coaching staff has realized that the way to coach well is to teach the kids how to play the game and recognize their growth and praise their success. When they screw up, coaches remind them what they need to do. Maybe the team screws up base running, then the team is required to spend 20 minutes after a bad loss running bases. Fine. Teaching moment. Nobody is being berated, but they darn well learned what they did wrong and how to correct it, dignity in tact.
Kids beat themselves up over a fielding error or bad showing at the plate, they don't need a coach yelling at them from the dugout to let them know that they screwed up.
The other coach is still buying into the strategy that the more embarrassed you make them on the field, the more likely they will not mess up again. In reality, the more stressed out they are when they are at bat, fearing what will happen if they don't perform, the more likely they will be to strike out looking as they quiver in their cleats with the coach's angry eyes burning a hole in their jersey. The more pressure the coach puts on them on the mound or behind the plate, or anywhere for that matter, the more freaked out the kids are going to be when the ball heads their way.
As I sit in the stands watching Eli and his excellent coaching staff I constantly notice the amount of positive comments coming from the coaches. This isn't to say that it is all rainbows and unicorns in the dugout. These coaches make the kids work hard, they are firm, they demand respect and handwork but in return they also give respect and handwork. That youth baseball at its best.
When I watch Gabe's games, my stomach is in knots and I have literally had tears explode out of my eyes as I painfully watch this coach bash his team and his fellow coaching helpers. I can't think of a time that I heard a positive comment come out of that coach's mouth - unless the team was winning.
Eli gets the benefit of learning a great deal this season. I have never seen that boy work harder than he has this season. He is already a better ball player because of the very intense yet incredibly respectful coaching he has received this year.
Gabriel gets to the learn the lesson that we don't strive our best to please a coach, teacher, or friends. We strive our best because at the end of the game, win or lose, we want to hold our head high and know deep in our heart that we gave our all. Our victory is not on the scoreboard or in the favor of man, but in the knowledge that we gave what we had to offer.
Two very different lessons, two very different games.
I can't wait until Gabe's season is over (I know.... it just started).
I want Eli's season to last forever (I'm sure I'll think differently come the end of May).