I have taken an interest recently in the welfare of two children whom I know only through the media. One is the offspring of Brittney Spears. I can’t believe that having the paparazzi following his mom around all the time attempting to document her maternal failings is going to be good for young Sean Preston in the long run. Who is in charge of making them stop?
I don’t know the other child’s name, but I know that his father’s cancer was cured by a drug manufactured by a major pharmaceutical company. In a radio commercial I have heard at least a dozen times, this father says that now that he has his life back, he can realize his dream of teaching his 4-year-old son to play baseball. So far so good. Then he says that he believes he is coaching a future major leaguer.
I am deputizing readers of this blog to find this man and sit him down for a long talk.
Tell him as gently as possible that the counter-example of Earl Woods notwithstanding, there are few surer ways to blight his son’s life than by aiming him at athletic stardom at an early age. And let him know that there are men who make their living figuring out who has got the stuff to play major league baseball. These men have several significant advantages over him. They evaluate young men at a much later stage in their physical development, and they bring professional expertise to the task. . Nonetheless, they are wrong more often than they are right. (I covered the New York Mets in the mid-1980s when two nice young guys named Sean Abner and Kyle Hartshorn were thought by some of the best mind’s in the game to be the future of the franchise. They weren’t.)
Tell him not to ruin baseball for his son by making every swing of the bat another step in a lifelong journey toward a destination his son may have neither the desire nor ability to reach.