Hey baseball parents! Are you tired of sitting on those cold aluminum bleachers in February and March while waiting for your child to get up to bat? Does the thought of sweating for two hours in the hot summer sun while waiting for the ball to get hit to your child sound unbearable? Are you concerned that your ballplayer did not move enough during the entire six inning game to compensate for the calories in the hot dog and snow cone he got from the snack shack after the game? If you are like me, the answer to each of these questions is an emphatic yes.
Let me first tell you that I actually love the game of baseball. I played it as a kid and was fortunate enough to play in high school. While I was not good enough to play beyond high school, the passion for the game never went away after I stopped playing. That is, of course, until I became a parent and had to sit through two seasons of youth baseball. It left me thinking: Was it really that awful when I was a kid? If so, then why didn’t my parent’s tell me how painful it was?
For the sake of my son, I was prepared to fight through the dread of another boring year of youth baseball. To add to my misery, I was even willing to coach and put myself in charge of eleven other kids who’d rather be playing video games than baseball. Thankfully, however, a chance opportunity for my son to learn about the game of lacrosse set me free. After attending a clinic put on by the local lacrosse club, my son was hooked and, after learning that the season is played at the same time as baseball, I suddenly took a liking to it as well. We decided to give it a try and, after that first season, never even considered going back to baseball.
Unlike baseball, lacrosse is a sport of constant motion. Most of the players on the field are required to play both offense and defense, which means that there is seldom an opportunity to stand in one spot for more than a few seconds at a time. From a parent’s perspective, there’s no down time. You don’t have to pretend to be interested while waiting for eight other kids to get their turn before your player gets to do something. Instead, during a lacrosse game, you’re afraid to look away in fear that you may miss his goal, his big hit, steal, assist or save. In fact, lacrosse parents actually wait for half time to go to the bathroom. While it’s a physical game, serious injuries are rare due to the helmet and padding, and because hits to the back and to the head are not allowed. Though it looks bad when the player with the ball is being “attacked” by defenders with their lacrosse sticks, with all the padding, a few bruises throughout the course of the year is typically the worst outcome. Although the lacrosse ball is, for the most part, just as hard as a baseball, as a parent, I feel better knowing that my son’s head, chest, back and arms are protected at all times.
From the players’ perspective, lacrosse is simply set up to bring much more fun and excitement than baseball. With the speed of the game, the rapid shift from offense to defense and the ability to touch the ball at any given moment, there’s no time to watch the clouds go by or to hunt for four leaf clovers in the grass. In addition, with all their gear and since they are constantly moving, they don’t have to endure the misery of a long, drawn out inning of baseball during a cold, windy night. Finally, what kid wouldn’t like the opportunity swing a stick at another kid without getting in trouble?
So, if you’re ready to ditch the long, two hour games of youth baseball for a fast paced, hour long game of lacrosse, then look for a club near you. As one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, there’s bound to be a team close by.