Softball Cheaters Pumpkin Eaters

A few weeks back, my 15 year old daughters picked up to pitch on weekend that their team was not playing.  At first, we thought of it as a win-win situation.  They would get pitching time and get the benefit of working with a new coach.  As a fastpitch family, we are firm believers that there is always something to learn.

Unfortunately, the lesson learned this particular week was that there are a sea of coaches out there who are willing to cheat in order to take home a cheap trophy and boost their own egos on behalf of the team.

This particular day, the team we are playing with had a total of 5 pick up players.  By the end of the day, they had added 2 more pick up players to the team – meaning that more than half of the girls playing that day were pick ups.  The team did well, despite the very odd coaching manners of the head coach.  At the end of the day they found themselves in the championship game.

Unfortunately, another coach knew that this team had picked up players in 16U that were 18 years old.  They stopped the championship game twice, totally over and hour of non-playing time to protest the game.  Certainly, if the opposing team would have been losing, the game would have played out.  But since the team accused of cheating was winning, the opposing coach decided it was time to pull the brakes on the operation.

While it was happening, all the parents were confused and appalled at the behaviors of the coach.  See, the coach that was cheating knew HE was cheating, but didn’t let any of the players or parents know.  He knew the rules, knew the age qualifications, knew that he should have handed in a roster at the onset of the day, and should have known that keeping birth certificates at the field is quite simply a requirement in the travel ball arena.  He did none of these things.  Worse, he acted indignant, and upset and frustrated that the opposing team would even accuse him of such an act.

The thing is that as the investigation ensued, his cheating was uncovered.  All of his players (including the pick ups) were denied their chance at the championship game, and his team was not allowed to finish the tournament.  Making matters worse was the 80+ minutes the kids spent in the rain at the wee hours of the evening waiting for things to be hashed out.

What a freaking mess.  What a freaking disappointment.  What a tragedy to ALL the girls involved.

We have all at some point witnessed cheating between the foul lines.  I have seen a coach throw in a leather covered rubber ball.  We have all played defense against an illegally altered bat.  We have all seen coaches bend the rules in order to suit them.  But who does this help?  Who does this benefit?  Certainly not the girls busting their butts.

And who wants to win by cheating?  Apparently, the competitive world of children’s sports can and does bring out the worst in people.  In my opinion coaches caught cheating should be banned from coaching altogether.

What sort of cheating in softball have you witnessed? Its no secret that softball cheaters are everywhere – but what can we do collectively to put an end to it?

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