Friday, June 17, 2016

Baseball drama and longest run in two months

Things did not go well at Eli's baseball game on Wednesday, so I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to take care of the issue. It's a long story, but basically, Eli's coach is ALL about winning. He threw a tantrum like a two-year at the second game, and then this week, he was being kind of ridiculous in his coaching methods. My priorities for Eli's summer baseball are: 1) Have fun; 2) Play ball; and 3) Be a good sport, no matter what. This isn't a competitive league--it's just for kids to have some fun during the summer! But Eli's coach's priorities are: 1) Win; 2) Win; 3) Win.

I'd been biting my tongue about his attitude... until Wednesday's game.
He wanted to walk in as many kids as possible, because the kids at this age aren't great at pitching. He tells the kids not to swing at the pitches, and bets on the fact that they'll probably end up with a walk. Walks may get them to the base, but it's not fun for either team! He told Eli not to swing at anything, and I thought that was ridiculous. Why play baseball if you don't try to hit the ball? I told Eli just to swing at anything that looked like a good pitch, and not to worry about it.

Well, Eli swung and missed, and his coach was pissed. I saw him whispering to Eli, and then Eli came over to me with tears in his eyes and said the coach told him that he has to run 10 laps for listening to me (his mother) instead of him (the coach). My blood felt like it was boiling when Eli told me that--I couldn't believe it. I told the coach that Eli wasn't going to be running any laps, and the coach said he was going to "ask Eli not to come to any more of the games" then.

The team only has 10 players, and only 8 of them regularly show up--just barely enough to play. Without Eli, they'd have to forfeit. And Eli is their best pitcher. I called Jerry, and he left Noah's game to come over (he was furious, too). He stayed after the game to talk to the coach, who told him that he was teaching the kids discipline, and he was going to make his own son run 200 laps around their house for the mistakes he made during the game.

Say what?!

It was 85 degrees outside, and these kids are 9-10 years old. I felt really sorry for the coach's son. I decided that I was going to write a letter to the athletic director (I'm better at writing than I am explaining over the phone). I wrote down everything that had happened, and I drove it to the township hall yesterday. When the athletic director read it, he gave me a call, and thankfully, he was very concerned about the whole thing.

He said that the coach isn't allowed to "punish" kids by making them run (or anything like that) and that summer ball is non-competitive and all about having fun. He also said that the coach doesn't even have the authority to kick Eli off the team. He was very grateful for the letter, and said he was going to handle everything this weekend, so that Monday's game will be a fun one. I'm really glad to have that taken care of, because it's been bothering me ever since the first game when we saw his coach's true colors.


Noah's coach (who I really like) has been kind enough to let Eli practice with his team, which is great for Eli. Eli just wants to play baseball, and he'll take any opportunity he can get to play. This morning, they had practice from 10-12, so I decided to go for a run while they were practicing. The field where they practice is halfway to the Metropark from my house, so I dropped them off at practice and then I went to the Metropark to run on the bike path.

The bike path is three miles, so I was going to do an out-and-back for a total of six miles. It was hot and sunny outside today (80 degrees), so I decided to just run very easy, not worrying about heart rate or pace. After the first mile, I remembered a badge on Smashrun that you can earn for doing "steady" 10K's--running a 10K or longer with a pace variable of less than 5% (they also have a badge for 4% variability and one for 3% variability). I decided to see if I could get the most even splits possible.

My first mile was 10:30, so after that, I just aimed to keep a 10:30 pace throughout the run. I wasn't sure if Smashrun looked at just the mile splits or if the variability was calculated some other way--I guessed it was from mile splits. Toward the end of each mile, I'd check my pace lap pace and adjust accordingly so that my split times were as close to 10:30 as possible. I was feeling REALLY good on the run, so I decided to add another mile on the way out, making the total run eight miles instead of six.


My mile splits were almost spot-on at 10:30. When I got back to the car at mile eight, I felt amazing. It was a really good run today! My heart rate was a little higher than normal (150 versus 146 bpm), because I usually run at whatever pace keeps my heart rate low, but today, I was focused on keeping the pace steady, and my heart rate rose during the run.

My splits were super even, though!


I was excited to upload it to Smashrun, but it turns out they look at the run as a whole and judge the variability from that--so mine was 5% (good enough to count toward one badge, but not the others). Now that I know, I'll have to try to keep a super steady pace to earn the others, and not just focus on the mile splits. This was my longest run since I was training for my 10K, and I felt really good.


Despite it being 80 degrees, I was surprised that I wasn't all that sweaty. When I looked at the weather app, I noticed the humidity was only 38%--no wonder! I never would have felt that good if the humidity was the usual 80+%.

We have a very busy weekend, so I probably won't post again until Sunday or Monday. Tomorrow, Jerry's employer is taking all of the employees (and their families) to the Detroit Zoo, so we'll be going with the boys. Tomorrow night, we're going to our friends' house for a party. Sunday, we're spending the day with Jerry and then heading to my parents' house for dinner for Father's Day. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

18 comments:

  1. Ugh, I'm so sorry to hear about Eli's coach but I'm glad to hear that the AD is taking care of it. What the coach doesn't realize is that his actions can turn some kids off to baseball for life. My nephew had a coach like you described and he quit after one season of playing for that coach. My nephew was a natural and a gifted player but nothing would get him to go back to playing baseball. I hope Eli enjoys his baseball games for the rest of the summer!

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  2. Man, I definitely would have been frustrated with that coach! It's good you took a stand, and it sounds like it will make a difference.

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  3. Good for you for standing up for Eli and his entire team! Glad the director was receptive and really hope things are better on Monday.

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  4. Good job mama! I feel terrible for the coach's son. That's abusive behavior and it'll impact that kid for life. Something tells me this coach is not going to take a confrontation well.

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  5. That coach sounds like he needs to call it after this season! So crazy! I'm glad the problem will hopefully be taken care of. I felt so bad for your son after reading that he not only struck out, but then got in trouble. :( On the flip side, awesome job on your run! 8 miles is no joke!

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  6. You did great! I learned the hard way that you are always your child's best advocate. The boys are lucky to have such involved and caring parents. I hope that the rest of the season is better for Eli.

    On another note, I am going to be traveling in Ohio and Michigan next week and plan to check out La Pita. You've raved about it so often that I'm excited to get to try it.

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    1. Definitely check out La Pita! You will not regret it. Make sure you go to the one on Newman Street in Dearborn (right off Michigan Ave). There are a couple of "La Pitas", but they aren't related to that one. And definitely try the garlic sauce! It's the best part :)

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  7. What a snake! Whispering a punishment to your son for for listening to you!

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  8. I'm glad you spoke up to the director. My brother had a coach like that in Little League and he never played after that season. We weren't super athletic, but a coach like that can kill a kid's dream. The kids need discipline, but discipline to look for a good pitch and swing and do their best - not like he was doing.

    Kudos to you for being an involved parent. I hope the rest of the season goes better.

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  9. Do you have any suggestions for running in the summer heat when training by MAF? My MAF HR is 145 and I am finding it nearly impossible to run in anything over 80 degrees. This past winter/spring I was able to maintain a recovery pace of 11:45 - 12:30 at 125-135. However, now with summer in full blaze trying to keep my heart rate at or below 145 I am having to walk almost the entire time with pace about 14:30 - 15:30. I have two upcoming half marathons and I am worried about not being able to get my running in.

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    1. It's hard, isn't it?! My pace has gone from about 10:00 to about 10:30-11:00 in the heat. I'm still able to run, but I can imagine your frustration! I know in true MAF training, you should still keep your heart rate low, no matter what the conditions. It just depends on what your goals are! If you want to stick with the MAF training, hopefully your body will adjust quickly; but I know a lot of people quit doing it for that very reason. Do you do any speed work? You can use the speed work to get in your running, and then just do the walking/easy jogging by HR for your easy runs. Sorry I can't be more helpful! The only other option I can think of would be to do a treadmill run or two each week--then you can control the environment, and hopefully be able to increase your pace at a low heart rate.

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    2. Katie, I got the 80/20 running book you referenced some time ago and finished it recently. As I recall, the author said that real running coaches will recommend fast walking (or walking on an incline) as a cross-training activity for runners. Walking is low impact, which was the point of the mention in the book - often runners want an alternative impact that's low impact. However, @Rambling Man, this certainly gives legitimacy to fast walking as being able to train your aerobic ability.

      I second the treadmill idea - I have a treadmill at home, and some days are so hot, it's just better to train inside. If you don't have a treadmill, check out rates at your local YMCA. I often travel out of town and get a day pass at the YMCA to use the treadmill - it's not usually too expensive. If you do it often, get a membership - it's for a good cause. Also, I've found that Planet Fitness usually has a pretty cheap (like $10) day pass, if you have any of them near you.

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  10. My blood would have been boiling too! Good for you for standing up to him, I can't imagine what goes on in his head to think that's ok. Great job with the run, and hope you guys have a blast at the Zoo!

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  11. Kids sports can be such a double edge sword. On the one hand, I'm always grateful to parents who volunteer to coach, on the other hand, you can get some parents like what you experienced. Kudos for handling the situation, both directly with the Coach and contacting the AD. I find it very difficult to say things in those situations, but our kids really do need our support.

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  12. Sadly, there are way too many "coaches" like Eli's! It seems like they are living through the kids and need to pick up a sport of their own if they are so dang competitive!

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  13. Good job Mom! If we the parents do not advocate for our children who will. Love having my kids in sports, soccer is our game, and have been so blessed with wonderful coaches. Team sports teach so much about sportsmanship and discipline, but above all I want my kids to be healthy and happy, learning and making friends. Way to go Katie!

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  14. Wow, that coach! I am a person who does think it is good to teach competition early but never that way at all. Good for you for speaking up!

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  15. Good for you for taking action regarding the coach!! There was a national study done a couple of years ago and one of the things they found is that one reason kids don't play sports is because the coaches (and sometimes parents, though clearly not always :-) ) care so much about winning when the kids, especially at the younger ages, just want to play to have fun. If we want kids to be active, it has to be accessible and fun for them, otherwise they get frustrated and quit. Here is the study for any interested: http://youthreport.projectplay.us/the-problem
    I think you did the right thing. Getting to hit and throw and catch and run... those are the fun parts of baseball! I hope Eli is able to play for fun going forward.

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