Friday, September 18, 2015

Softball Victims

Let me start out by saying that I don't carry cash. Almost ever. I only carry it when I know I'll need it. My kids got me out of the habit of ever having cash on me something like 10 years ago. If I carry it, they spend it.

I haven't talked about my daughter's softball stuff this year at all. I've meant to, but, really, I've had other things on my mind and just didn't get to it. The main thing you should know is that we let her do fall ball, this year, for the first time. Yes, it's difficult to keep up with the softball schedule during the school year. So difficult!

But, anyway, she had her first fall tournament this past weekend. Which they won, by the way. I'm just telling you now because this post isn't about that. Actually, this post isn't really about softball at all. So, see, when we got there, I had to pay to get in. I had to pay to get in!

There were some problems with this:
1. I have never had to pay to get into one of my daughter's softball tournaments before.
2. No one told me I was going to have to pay.
3. I don't carry cash.
Needless to say, I was a bit irate. Hmm... "a bit" might be an understatement.

As I was pulling out my cash... oh, wait! the cash. Well, see, after my daughter and I were already in the car and pulling out, I thought, "Wait, I better go in and grab some cash so that I can buy water if I need to." Because I didn't have any water to take with me. Yes, I didn't plan ahead very well for this particular tournament in those regards. So I hopped out of the car, much to the chagrin of my daughter who was worried about being late, and ran back in for some cash.

So I was pulling the cash out of my pocket as I was being upset about the whole thing, and I said to the girl who taking the money, "What if I didn't have any cash on me? No one told me I was going to have to pay to get in to my own daughter's softball tournament." The girl didn't answer, but a woman standing nearby did. She said something like, "Well, I guess that would just be too bad."

I was already irate, but that pissed me off. It pissed me off that some random bystander would make that comment to begin with, so I said, "Well, it's messed up. It's messed up to charge the parents, who have to drive their kids to the tournaments, to get in to see them play. No other tournaments charge." And that was the point that I found out that she wasn't a random bystander but someone who worked for the park the tournament was being held at. Needless to say, we got into it.

Let me digress for a moment. The night before, my wife and I had been looking at an article about the current victim-hood culture we have. It was an interesting article that I would link, but we were reading it on her computer, and I don't remember what site it was on. The thing that was most interesting was how "victims," in order to support their victim status, resort to proclaiming as publicly as possible about how they have been wronged. This draws sympathy and weird support form people they don't know and makes them feel validated in their victim-hood. Basically, rather than trying to work out an issue or taking some proactive approach, people tend to just, well, I'll call it "tattle."

I had gone on off to find my daughter. She didn't have to pay to get in (because that would have been even more messed up since they have to pay to play in the tournaments anyway), so I had sent her ahead to find her team while I was paying and getting my wristband on. Once I found her, I stopped to text my wife (who wasn't able to come to the tournament because, in her work, this is the busy time of the year, like tax time CPAs) that we were there. While I was doing that, my daughter's head coach came over and tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Look, I'm on your side, but..."

You can always tell by the "but." As it turns out, the woman I had words with was the director of the tournament, and she felt so victimized by me that she had to go tell the head coach of my daughter's team to have words with me about it. Because nothing says "I'm a victim" better than tattling. I felt like I was in kindergarten again.

Is this really what we've become in the United States? A nation of kindergartners who can't deal with their own problems? I mean, this was a grown-ass woman, older than me, and she felt the need to complain to my kid's coach about me saying it was messed up to charge the parents to get into the tournament. And let me tell you, it's one of the crappiest parks my daughter has played at. Maybe the worst. But the obviously expensive parks haven't charged anything. Which, at this point, is not the point.

So what is the point?

The point is that people need to grow up. When did we stop teaching kids not to tattle? I'm pretty sure that's not a thing anymore. I know it's not at my kid's school. We don't teach people to work things out anymore. We just teach them, culturally, to be a victims.
That's messed up!

[Edit: These tournaments are not related to any kind of school district league. These are organizations that hold the tournaments for the various softball leagues. None of this is related to schools. The teams have to pay to participate in the tournaments, and that's not cheap. Effectively, we've already paid for our daughter to be at any of these tournaments playing in the first place. This thing where I had to then pay to get in is kind of like when a store charges an entry fee so that you can go in and buy stuff.]


  1. I'm sorry to laugh at your post but for all the wrong reasons. My husband is so cheap that he refuses to pay at all of our kids' games. So he goes to the games really early before they set up the pay station and just walks in for free. A few times when he gets there late he tries to sneak around someway and one time he got caught and they made him pay. He was so pissed off! He's in the wrong yet he gets mad. I feel your pain though.

    1. JKIR,F!: As I added in my edit, these are not school games. We already pay for our daughter to get to play in these tournaments. And, as I said, there hasn't been any other tournament we had to pay to get into.

  2. Yeah, that seems weird. There should at the very, very least be a discount for the guardians who drive them and buy all the equipment. I understand you, though. I have a bunch of adult students, and a few of them can't seem to tell me to my face when they don't enjoy something about the lesson... they decide to go tell my boss instead. My boss takes my side (they're really hard to satisfy as students) but he's obligated to tell me each time. Frustrating! Some of these women are 60!!!

    1. Alex: Considering that we have to pay for her to get to participate at all, I can't see how there's any good reason to charge the parents to get in, too.

  3. So much to comment on. First, I never carry cash, either. I have my debit card, and I'm surprised when people don't accept it at legitimate businesses. I had to pay a fine at the library for losing a DVD (long story involving Mr F) and I had my debit card. "We don't take those," the librarian said. "But you can pay online with one." The problem was, we couldn't check out Mr Bunches' books until we paid the fine, and he wasn't going to make it easy to go home and pay and come back. Finally the librarian said I could go use the library computer that serves as a card catalog and pay that way.

    Anyway: softball tournaments. It doesn't SOUND like you are the kind of sports-crazed parent I see these days. Talking about kids' athletics makes me sound like an old "get off my lawn" guy. I think it's nuts how organized sports are, and I generally think that it's the parents driving it more than the kids. As I said, I don't think that applies to you. You don't strike me as the kind of guy who will force his kids do stuff, and your kids don't seem the kind of kids who would do it.

    But I see all kinds of kids dragged to soccer tournaments, softball tournaments, hockey, basketball, you name it. My sister-in-law is one of these: her kids are in baseball, football, softball, everything. They go to these tournaments that last all day, both days of the weekend, and her other kids have to go with them to watch, so the whole family is stuck there all day. The kids don't even like it; she just feels like they should do it.

    The kind of tournaments you went to seem to feed into parents' need to organize and productivize every moment of their kids' lives. I think it's ridiculous that parents force kids to do that, and then fork over all that money, which they HAVE to do because what kind of terrible parent wouldn't stay and watch? (When she was a lot younger, Middle Daughter joined 'gymnastics,' which was every Tuesday night. It was mostly kids horsing around at a gym. But they made a big deal of having an area where parents could sit and watch and EVERY OTHER PARENT did that. So Sweetie or I had to sit there every week for NINETY minutes while Middle played with other kids, doing nothing of any sort of interest. I'd have been happy dropping her off and picking her up, but I felt like everyone would judge me.)

    So it's good that your daughter is so good at softball (and the accordion do I remember correctly?) and that you're supportive, but bad that tournaments like that prey on parents & kids who just want to have their kid have something fun to do -- and make it possible for parents to force kids to do something the kid may not want to all that much.

    1. Briane: Oh, no, we are not sportsball parents at all. My daughter is the one who decided she wanted to play softball; honestly, it never would have occurred to us to suggest it. Neither my wife nor I are sports people and neither are our sons. It was the last thing in our minds that our daughter would want to get involved in organized sports. All that we do around the softball stuff is only to support her and what she wants and has chosen to do. And she's really good! So it's a pleasure to watch her.

      But, yeah, that's not the way it is with the other families. Virtually every kids playing is playing because one or both of the parents insisted on it. Some of them grow to like it, but most of them do it grudgingly, at best.

    2. You didn't seem the type to force them into it, so I didn't want to offend. I'm glad your daughter enjoys it. It's great that you guys support her in that. Good parents result in good kids, and from everything I've read about you, your kids are good kids.

    3. Briane: I like to think they're good kids, but I might be biased.

  4. As for the victimhood? There's something particularly pernicious about this one: she didn't want to challenge you herself, so she went over your head. She talked to your boss, as it were: your daughter's coach presumably has some power over you, if only indirectly. She's not a victim, she's a snake and demonstrated her powerlessness by doing that.

    I get that all the time. My name isn't on the sign/letterhead, so other lawyers constantly assume that I have a 'boss.' I don't. I AM the boss. One day, one of my partners came down and said a lawyer had called him about a malpractice suit I was preparing against their firm.

    "He asked me to talk to you about it," the partner said.

    "Why?" I asked.

    "Well, he knew me from a way back and thought I had some insight into it."

    "Hmmm," I said.

    "Thought you'd want to know," my partner said and left.

    A GROWN MAN thought that by calling 'my boss' he could get me to DROP A LAWSUIT AGAINST HIS MALPRACTICING EMPLOYEE. It made me laugh.

    I actually get those calls about my employees. I tell them "talk to [employee] about it."

    People are cowards. They don't want to challenge you directly. She figured the coach couldn't possibly attack her, because she ran the tournament. She figured you couldn't possibly attack the coach because he runs your daughter's team. You should call her directly and explain to her -- with a letter follow-up -- why what she did was so inappropriate, and ask her to apologize to you. I bet she will try to attack you some other way then.

    1. Briane (again): Oh, I should have added to the above comment: At least that's true in the younger ages. By the time the kids are hitting my daughter's age, most of whom you have left are the converts.

      Yes, most people are complete cowards, which is why they seek out the validation of others for their victim status. And, sometimes, those other people will, then, attack the person they claim victimized them. That's what it's all about. It's like a gofundme campaign for vengeance.

  5. L'enfer c'est les autres. - Sartre

    Hell is other people.