I let my kid quit Little League

I called my son into the living room and confirmed with him that it was what he really wanted. He said it was. So I hit send on a note to his baseball coach letting him know that the season was over for him. The team still has two games and the playoffs to go. But #42 would not be joining them anymore.

A few weeks back on a surprisingly chilly May evening the Plumbers were in a tight game. The boys 7 and 8 year olds (and some 6s who are technically 7) are one of the smaller teams. No behemoth 2nd graders, just a group of scrappy little guys. My son stood at the plate. Elbow up. Knees slightly bent. The other team's pitchers were wild already five of our guys had been hit. The bases were loaded. And the pitch came in. It was way inside, and smashed into my sons hand.

Like his teammates before him he collapsed down into a crying mess. His coach came running over from third base and tried to encourage him as he walked over to first base. He couldn't stay out there, they brought in a pinch runner and I came over to the dug out. He was inconsolable.

I was sure he'd be good to go by the next game. I got him some extra pads for his hands. A security blanket. We went to the batting cage and all seemed great. He was driving the ball with authority. At practice he was great. And then it was game day. He walked into the dugout and was in tears. He refused to play. Eventually he played half an inning of left field.

That would be the last time he saw the field. The next game he couldn't even make it into the dugout. And spent the entire game off the field playing with the little sister of one of his teammates.

I reached out to everyone I knew who might give me some advice. Dads with kids as young as 6 and some with kids almost out of high school. They all said, he'll be ready when he is ready. I didn't push it.

So after a rain-out and a few scheduling conflicts. We were going to get ready to play again. When I told him we were going to start to get ready. His face sunk.

I knew he was scared. I asked him if playing was making him unhappy. He said it was. Forcing him would just make him sad. He is six (and 3/4) he deserves to be happy. And me forcing him to play isn't doing that. I love watching him play. He has a wonderful and powerful swing the kind that is usually reserved for lefties. He is so willing to throw himself around to get a ball. We even got him catchers gear so he could try to be a catcher. And through coaching and practice. He can actually catch the ball well.

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I never got a chance to play little league, so it was important to me to see him play. That's why I never missed a game of corporate softball. It just became not right for him.

When I sent that email he was so relieved. We are still going to have catches in the back yard and the park. I'll still throw him batting practice. But he won't be on the team, at least not this year. And if that makes him happy. In happy with it too.

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