As a Sporting Dad Answers His Mail, Sparks Fly

With apologies to some very famous people.

I’ve received many emails from my readers over the past month. In this week’s column I’ll answer as many as I possibly can in the allotted space.

 Dear Ron: I’m 42-years-old. Some of the parents say there are no inequalities in youth sports today. My husband says, “If you see it in the Patch, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth; does such an uneven playing field truly exist? — Virginia in Simsbury

 Dear Virginia: Those parents are wrong. They have been lulled into the throes of the status quo. Just as one cannot see little superstar Billy running towards the touchdown on the opposite end of the field from ground level at West Woods because of the high slope of the field (for drainage purposes), does it prompt one to believe that he has actually scored? If I had just finished writing a run-on sentence and you fully understood it, would it then become an acceptable form of grammar? Yes, Virginia, there is much inequality. It exists as broken hearts and broken dreams that sting like a sliver of bench wood in the butt. Alas, how dreary would be the ride home if the romance where sucked out of the game? There would be no sense of achievement except in knowing the playbook inside and out. And the borderline plagiaristic tone of this answer would become more of a focus than the extinguished light that is supposed to be eternal and fill a child’s world with … something bright and shiny.

Dear Ron: Do you ever find yourself becoming just a tad bit overdramatic when it comes to some of the issues that you speak about? — Juliet in Avon

Dear Jules: Two teams, both alike in strength,
In the Valley, where we play our games.
From the practice field break to weekly rivals,
Where maroon uniforms make white uniforms unclean.
From forceful hits of these two equal foes
A pair of star-cross'd players take the field;
Whose sturdy Quarterback overthrows
Do with their stars bury the coaches' rivalry.
The skipping over of their less-talent'd boys,
And the continuance of the coach’s pride,
Which, but their best players could be removed,
Is now the two minute warning of our game;
The which if you would play all that attend,
What plays they miss, shall follow them home once again.

To answer your question Jules: No not at all.

Dear Ron: I find your writing to be rather preachy at times. Who are some of your influences? — Eamon in Canton

Dear Eamon: I like to call my writing passionate. No obvious influences come to mind. However, I do have a dream that one day every youth player shall be treated as though they have a chance at becoming the next Joe Montana. This is the energy that I go back to the practice field with. With this energy we will take the time and mold a group of children with differing abilities into a solid unit. With this energy they will be able to play together, to fill in for a teammate as though they were the same person. With this energy they will be able to recognize that a teammate’s weakness is a signal to adjust and fill the void while he learns to master his technique. If a team is to become a cohesive force this must be included in its evolution. Let them all play from Southington to East Granby. Let them all play from the valley of Farmington to the storefronts of West Hartford. Let them all play from the swollen rivers of Avon and Simsbury. And when we are finished, when the less talented are confident and relied upon to claim victory from defeat, all the team’s players, chubby kids and thin kids, klutzy ones and gifted ones, rich and poor, will be able to break the huddle and remember the words taught to them by the coach, “Z-47 Power I Dive! Z-47 Power I Dive! Thank goodness we are running the Z-47 Power I Dive at last!”

Dear Ron: Some of your writing is quite lyrical. It’s almost like you constantly have music running through your head. Have you ever thought of writing lyrics for songs? — Guitar Hero in West Hartford

Dear Hero: When I find myself trying to get my point across, music often comes my way,
flowing to the keyboard, let them play.
And in my hours of typing it is blaring from all sides to say,
and circling in Surround Sound, let them play.

Let them play, let them play, let them play, let them play.
They paid hundreds of dollars, let them play.

And when the close-minded reading these lines just won’t seem to go away,
I’ll never change my answer, let them play.
For though they may be cold-hearted I’m holding out they will see someday,
I’ll never give up trying, let them play.

Let them play, let them play.

Dear Ron: I think your opinions are dumb and unrealistic. And furthermore you have thin skin and a double chin. What do you think of that? — Thorn in Your Side from Unionville


I’d like to apologize to anyone offended by my re-styling of the works of Francis Pharcellus Church, Shakespeare, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Lennon and McCartney.

David Richardson August 31, 2011 at 12:20 PM
funny.. good stuff
Mary Parducci August 31, 2011 at 01:03 PM
Another great column, Ron.
Celine Roy Kosak August 31, 2011 at 10:36 PM
Fun to read, and I love consistent message of equality. Let them Play!!!
Dee Suttmeier August 31, 2011 at 10:55 PM
Thanks for the humorous take on equality in youth sports Ron but you really do need to leave Lennon & McCartney alone !!
Ann Taylor September 02, 2011 at 12:22 PM
Ann Taylor Great column Ron, wish more of the coaches in town had this approach. LET THEM PLAY!
Deborah Polydys September 02, 2011 at 12:44 PM
Great column Ron! It's unfortunate that too often, it has nothing to do with ability and everything to do with favoritism. I guess some would say it's never too early to learn that it does not matter how hard you try or how good you are - it's who you know. You can tell you have a good and fair coach when you can't tell who their child is on the team. Youth sports is supposed to be about giving all the kid's a chance to play - it's supposed to be about learning experiences - not a lesson in politics.


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