Liberals, Please Don’t Ruin Sports For Our Kids

Conrads first baseball game 7My grandson just turned five, and that entitles me to coach his little league baseball team.  It’s Grandpa Heaven.  Our first game was last Saturday.

At this age, the coach pitches to his own players and if they can’t hit it after five good pitches, they hit from a tee.  My grandson smashed my first pitch into deep center field, but I digress . . .

I didn’t expect a baseball game for five-year-olds to have a political slant.  But it sure did.

Our team took the field first, and the other team sent up their first batter.  He hit a grounder to our first baseman, who stepped on the bag for the first out.  But instead of returning to the dugout, the batter stood on first base, held there by his coach.  My other coaches and I looked at each other, confused.  Our players looked at us wondering what was going on.  We told the opposing coach, “Hey!  That kid is out!”  (There are no umpires for T-ball.)

“No, we are going to let all the kids run the bases,” he said.  “Nobody goes out.”

The second batter hit a grounder to our pitcher, who tossed the ball to first base.  Out number two.  But no, the coach left both runners on the bases.  We didn’t put up a fight at the time, because it was our first year coaching in this league, and the other team’s coaches seemed to be veterans with authority.  “This is the way we play in this league,” they barked.  We had been given the leagues “rules” before the season started, stating, “There will be a maximum of 5 runs or 3 outs per inning, whichever comes first,” and “An out is an out.  Player must leave the field of play.”  Apparently rules mean as much to these dads as the Constitution does to President Obama.

This morning I wrote a note to the coach of our opposing team next week, asking him to agree that “an out is an out” in our upcoming game.  I explained that the kids were confused because rules weren’t enforced, and many of them were getting really bored because every play had the same outcome.  I copied my email to the league’s director.

That started a flurry of emails.  Turns out the league director is a knuckle-headed liberal who thinks that it is more “fun” for the kids to never fail than it is for them to actually succeed.  I pointed out that kids, especially at that age, need order and structure. They want to know what they are supposed to do.  What’s the point of throwing the ball to first base if the runner is always safe? And why bother to run hard to beat the throw if you will be safe anyway?  The “putout” is fundamental to baseball.  There is no game without it.  And besides, what is more fun than getting a legitimate base hit, or a putout?

The director, of course, launched into the predictable liberal tirade about the evils of competition.  “Besides, kids at this age never put anybody out anyway,” he claimed.  That got my daughter (assistant coach) into the fray.  “Our team made five putouts in the first inning, three in the second, and two in the third!” she countered.  She was a very competitive athlete in younger years, and was obviously keeping score, mentally.  “The other team got several putouts too.  So did the teams that played after us.”   She, too, pointed out that the players were getting bored because every play had the same outcome.

The director said he would think about it.  But I’m not optimistic that the integrity of our T-ball league will be saved from a liberal fate.

Why do liberals think they have the only correct understanding of fairness?  How fair is it when you put a kid out at first base and he gets to stay there anyway? A “game”, by definition, is a competition with a winner and a loser. Results. Consequences. Reality.  No consequences, no game.

Imagine the NCAA championship game coming up in a couple of weeks.  Every player gets to take the same number of shots.  Every shot is good for two points, whether it goes in the basket or not.  But nobody keeps score anyway, because it might make somebody feel bad. Do you think anybody would pay to watch?  Or want to play?  Even a five-year-old knows that’s just plain stupid.

** UPDATE 3/28/15 – our little “protest” worked – with support from other parents and coaches, we got the league director to enforce the rule.  Starting today, in our little kids baseball league, “an out is an out.”  Victory!

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideJust to hit the ball, and touch ’em all
A moment in the sun
It’s a-gone and you can tell that one good-bye!

Center Field – John Fogerty

 

 

check out Fogerty’s “baseball bat” guitar!

K-12 Spending: more, More, MORE!

Education spending.  More is better, right?

For years we have heard reports that teachers are forced to buy paper and supplies out of their own pockets, that some teachers qualify for food stamps, and that there have been “draconian cuts” to K-12 education budgets for decades.  Stories of the heartless underfunding of education are delivered with emotion and indignation, but seldom with statistical validation.

As student scores, college readiness and employability of graduates continue to decline across the U.S., the mantra of educators and progressives increases in volume and pitch.  “More money.  Just give us more money.  All we need is MORE MONEY!”

Seattle Times Headline Ed Spending

At a recent conference on school choice presented by the Franklin Center, Dr. Ben Scafidi shredded many of the myths about American taxpayers short-shrifting students.

Scafidi, director of the Economics of Education Policy Center at Georgia College and State University, said spending per student continues to increase sharply, studies prove that student achievement does not rise as a result of more spending, and there is no evidence that students are any harder to teach than they ever were due to non-school influences.

The most compelling finding of Scafidi’s 2012 study titled “The School Staffing Surge – Decades of Employment Growth in America’s Public Schools is this:

From 1950 to 2009 the number of students increased by 98%.  The number of teachers in public schools increased by 252%.  Meanwhile the number of administrators and other school staff increased by 702%.

Scafidi said, “If from 1992 to 2012 our public schools had increased non-teacher staff at the same rate that it increased teaching staff, it would have freed up $26.5 billion per year in education funds.  That could translate to an $8500 raise for every teacher, or a huge reduction in taxes, or scholarships that would allow many students to attend the schools of their choice.”

Opponents of school choice contend that students who remain in traditional public schools are harmed when budget dollars follow students to private or charter schools.  But Scafidi points out that charter and private schools operate so much more efficiently than the traditional public schools that fixed costs for the existing schools (about 36%) can still be covered by available funds and the remaining students in those schools benefit by the reduced variable costs.

Clearly there is no direct equivalency between dollars spent per student and results.  Test scores, graduation rates, and college matriculation at the private and charter schools I visited in Washington, DC were nothing short of miraculous compared to those of the traditional DC public schools, despite spending less than half the amount per student.

In previous posts I have reported school budgets in rural Montana schools of $22,000 per student per year.  While many of these students are getting a great education, by no means are they twice as smart as their city-school peers.  The cost is merely a function of declining numbers of students versus increasing costs, largely spending required by federal and state regulations and not the local school board.

I have personally seen many aggregious examples of non-academic school spending.  One Montana school district with 350 high school students keeps a stable of five cruiser buses, most equipped with personal video players, for their athletic and extracurricular teams.  Schools so small they can only play six-man football travel 350 miles to games.  My local school district in South Carolina just spent $6 million on artificial turf.  That’s got to affect the cost per student, without really improving student outcomes, wouldn’t you say?

Voters and taxpayers: next time you hear educators and progressives hollering for “more, more, more money!” you might ask how the extra dollars will be spent and how will students benefit.  Better yet, demand that the dollars coming from your hard earned pay can go with each student to the school of his or her choice.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

And when you ask ’em, “How much should we give?”
Ooh, they only answer “More! More! More!”, y’all
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no millionaire’s son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one!

Bootlegging Guns and Ammo – Profit Opportunity!

GrannyClampett-729655There has never been a time – in my lifetime at least – when there was so much BUZZ about guns.

Jon Stewart recently interviewed Bob Costas, TV sports announcer, on the Daily Show.   Those of you who ‘Rock’ with me ‘On the Right Side’ may not know that comedian Jon Stewart’s ‘Daily Show’ on the Comedy Channel is the primary news source for the other (low-information) half of our population.

Did Stewart and Costas talk about sports?  Not much.  Mainly their conversation was about gun control.  Costas was aghast that 75% of former NFL coach Tony Dungy’s players admitted they owned guns.

Yesterday I met a small-business owner who was alarmed that there is no ammunition available in the stores in his area.  Even WalMart has bare shelves.  His son asked him where he could get some .22 shells.  “I told him to come on over,” he explained.  “I have at least 25,000 rounds.”

Minutes later, I visited with a harmless-looking little old lady – an attorney, no less – who joked about being her husband’s “bodyguard”.  I asked her if she was packing.  “Every day!” she beamed.  She explained that all of her female friends are either carrying guns now or working on getting their permits.

My employer’s personnel manual lays down the law: “Employees are not allowed to possess firearms on company property, and may not have firearms in their vehicles in company parking lots.”  So I asked some other employees if this rule is actually enforced.  “Oh, heck no,” one manager told me.  “Even the CEO of our company carries a .45.  Do you think we would work around here late at night with no protection?”

The Reverend Jesse Jackson (has anybody seen him in church lately?) beseeches President Obama to come “home” to Chicago and address the gun violence there, while the ruling party continues to talk-talk-talk about tougher gun laws.

It seems like the more the Democrats push gun control, the more guns and ammo are sold.  Remember Prohibition?  If you believe the old movies, when liquor was outlawed folks started spending every night in the “speakeasy” clubs getting blasted and doing that weird Charleston dance with the “flapper” girls.

Gun sales are skyrocketing now, when there is just a suggestion that they may soon be hard to get.  If (when) our fearless leaders succeed at making the possession of firearms illegal, the gun business will really be booming.  Those who have plenty of inventory to sell will be rolling in the dough.  It’s supply and demand.  People want to stay alive, and will spend their money to do so.

So if you are looking for the next big profit opportunity, you might consider being a firearms bootlegger in the coming Obama Gun Prohibition era.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Take you a glass of water,
Make it against the law,
See how good the water tastes
When you can’t have any at all!

Bootleg – John Fogerty
(Creedence Clearwater Revival)