For the Good of the Game

Two items related to youth sports in South Kitsap.

Act I: Can Pee Wees and Little League Play Nice?
The Port Orchard City Council on Tuesday agreed to allow South Kitsap Western Little League to take over the remainder of the Babe Ruth Association’s lease on the baseball field at Givens Community Center.
With the demise of Babe Ruth, SKWLL had hoped to occupy the field, thereby giving a better play venue to their older players than the junior high school fields they’ve been using.
SKWLL representative Bob Showers was there making his pitch, along with Art Mikelsen, a long-time supporter of youth baseball. The Little League season is just swinging into gear and will run through July. The South Kitsap Pee Wees take the field from August through November.
Pee Wee representatives were not at the meeting. But the city attorney had determined that the lease could be altered with out consent of the leasees.
Fred Olin, chairman of the public property committee, was the lone council member voting against the lease transfer. Olin said the two uses aren’t compatible, and although Pee Wees and Babe Ruth have shared the field for several years, there’s been friction.
“They can’t play in the sandbox together,” he said.
Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola seconded that observation saying much of his first year as mayor of the city was occupied by “playing referee” between the two groups.
“We’re not going to get in a he-said-she-said, ya, ya contest with you and the Pee Pees,” Coppola said to Showers. “There’s been costly staff time fighting about how fields would be maintained and who’s going to maintain them. We’re not going there about this.
“What I told them then and what I’m telling you now is, you will make this work and you will get along with Pee Wees or you’ll both be gone.”
Showers pledged that, whatever has gone on in the past, his organization will prove themselves good stewards and good neighbors.
“We are willing to work with them,” Showers said.
Rocky Huff, Pee Wees vice president, acknowledged on Friday that there historically has been conflict over field maintenance. The problem is that his group can’t reseed the field in the depths of winter. So the re-growth of the grass — chewed up by hudreds of Pee Wee cleats — sometimes encroached on baseball season.
The problem has not proven insurmountable, however, and with some recent changes in leadership on the part of both groups, the scuffling has died down, Huff said.
The lease transfer is only until the end of April, when the Babe Ruth/Pee Wee lease is up for renewal … or not. Terms of the lease are identical for both groups. The next month-and-a-half could be considered a trial period during which Pee Wees and SKWLL can prove they can share the sandbox after all.

Act II: Should Soccer Teams for U9 Players Be Randomly Assigned?
The South Kitsap Soccer Club met Thursday night to discuss whether the Kitsap Kick-off Soccer Tournament would die for lack of volunteers. About a dozen folks responded to a call for show-of-hands, so it looks like the tournament may come off after all.
A knottier issue was the proposal by the SKSC board to randomly assign players eight years old and under to teams. This would mean that, except for players whose parents are coaches, kids would play on a new team with a new coach each year.
This model is seen by board members as better for player development. Under the current system, some teams with adept players and coaches become dominant, resulting in lopsided matches that don’t serve anyone well, board members said. The focus is on the team and its record, not the development of individual players. Coaches and players stagnate.
The proposal has been met with strong resistance from parents, especially those who have invested time to coach their child and other children. They say randomizing teams would disrupt any consistency or momentum they’ve managed to generate among team members. One of the most important benefits of soccer, especially at a young age, is the socialization kids get from being part of a team. Kids don’t like or tolerate change, they say.
The observation was made that qualification and training of coaches should be more uniform if the club moves to this system. Board members agreed and said they would provide more opportunities for training.

South Kitsap Soccer Club last year had about 1,300 players. OK, you 1,300 families out there, I’ve got a challenge. Help your KIDS find the poll on the homepage of this blog and let them have their say. Should the club move to randomized teams for players 8 years old and under? (I’m OK with players old than 8 taking the poll.) The choices are:
Yes, I think it would be fun to play with different kids every year.
Yes. Then some kids wouldn’t get stuck with a bad coach while others get to keep a good coach.
No, my teammates are my friends. I would miss them.
No, my coach rocks. I want to stay with him/her.
I don’t care. I just want to play.

3 thoughts on “For the Good of the Game

  1. Interesting concept. Getting experience riding different horses with different temperaments, training levels and learning curves makes a better rider than one who rides only one horse.

    A child may well become more self-sufficient, confident and empowered by learning how to get along and form a team with different players. Its more challenging on the coaches, I imagine…but more fun too.
    Have studies been done on the benefits for the kids?
    Sharon O’Hara

  2. Good article, Karen – thanks. It shows a great need for soccer- any team sport?- in the kids life.

    I wonder how many of the kids would turn out without their friends? The article seemed to indicate kids played because their friends played.
    I wonder what percent of the kids turned out to play simply because they wanted to play soccer?
    The kids and adults I know pick activities they are interested in and meet people with similar interests who may become friends.

    Sharon O’Hara

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