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Monday, March 2, 2015

ONE…Two…THREE SHOOT! - a cranky re-run

This cranky re-run is from March 2013

I loved sports as a kid.  We played football and basketball.  We played several variations of baseball; stickball, whiffle ball, punch ball, step ball and garage-wall ball.  We played tag.  We had running races, plus we raced anything on wheels. 

There was no adult supervision. 

There were no arguments.

Rules were clear such as “Tie goes to the runner,” and if there was a dispute, “Call it, odds or evens…one, two, three…shoot.”

We kept score, but if a game was uneven we would switch players, or adjust the rules, “OK you guys get five downs, and we get only three.”

Most games came down to “Next touchdown wins” or “I call last licks.”  Basketball was first one to twenty wins.  When a game was over we would play one more game with player or rule changes to make the game equal.  Baseball – “You have to bat lefty to make it even.”

Basketball – “You can’t shoot a layup, and we get winners outs.”

Football – “You have to run at least twice, and Jimmy can’t pass.”

We would play until mom rang a bell, or the street lights came on.

I never played a sport with adult supervision until the eighth grade.

Eighth grade is when I remember arguments and lopsided scores.

When my own children were growing up all the sports from soccer at five years old through twelve year old Little League baseball were supervised by adults.  Fair play and good sportsmanship were stressed, and then the dads would choose up teams. 

The dads would scout all the kids; ask their own kids who were the best players, and then plot to select the best team.  I sat in on several of these team choosing sessions and I never heard one dad step up and say, “You know what Frank, you are weak on pitching, I’ll give you Jimmy Klein, for little Bobby Wagner, that should make the teams more fair.”   NEVER HAPPENED! 

Happened all the time when it was just us kids.

Adults mean well, but they just mess stuff up.  I think that from five years old to eleven, adults should provide the fields, the equipment, and then get out of the way.  Mix the ages up so there are some older kids to instruct the younger kids in rules and sportsmanship.  Let the kids keep score.  Let the kids pick the teams.  Let the kids make the rules.  Let the kids play.

I dislike watching a game and hearing a dad race out to an umpire screaming, “Are you crazy, he was safe by a mile,” or “You have got to be kidding he caught that ball out of bounds.”

I would love to hear once again disputes solved the way they should be resolved by kids:

“ODDS…one…two…three SHOOT!  He’s safe…Let’s play.”


  1. Totally agree - we used to play all kinds of games as kids and I don't remember us often falling our or leaving anyone out.

  2. When it comes to kids sports, one of the worst things that ever happened was organization.
    It means that everything costs the parents a fortune and the fun's gone away.

  3. I totally agree with just letting them play at that age group; learn to get along with playing and figuring out how to solve their own problems with it. Seems like that would go further than some of the coaching practices I have heard of. Great points you did make!


  4. I've always thought that the adults were the ones that needed to learn about fair play. I so agree with your assessment here.

    Have a fabulous day Cranky. ☺

  5. I think a lot of parents try to relive past glory through their children, even if there was no glory to relive.

  6. Those were the days when kids went home to dinner after the game, instead of to the shrink's office because it didn't end in a tie.

  7. You forgot about the DO-OVER. We could always call for a do-over if something was out of whack.

  8. We're all so very concerned that things be fair that we've taken the fun out of a lot...


  9. Kickball was my fave. It still is very popular at recess, and no adults are involved.

    Travel baseball is the biggest nightmare ever created in sports. Adults are all over the place, it costs a fortune, and everyone is tried and grumpy.

  10. Take me back to the time when playing is more about fun and not so much about who's better. :)

    I like your analogy here. :)

    Have a blessed week ahead!

  11. Love your idea. Kids play for fun, adults play to win at all cost.

  12. We played as you did, and i let my kids do as much of that as they could right here in the neighborhood. Organized sports are fine for older kids and adults. The young ones should just play.

  13. Absolutely! Kids seem to have an innate sense of fairness. It all evens out in the end.

    Why did adults have to mess it all up?

  14. What a rush. We used to do that too. I haven't thought of that in years.
    Thanks my friend.

  15. Yup, you and I grew up in the same era. Too bad it's gone.

  16. Yep, adults do tend to over-think things, and their sense of "fair play" is often a bit twisted.

  17. Amen! Kids do sports so much better than adults. They realize the goal is to win, yes, but also to have FUN.