I Was Too Annoying to Stay on the Team...

Discussion created by jamesk. on Apr 5, 2013
Latest reply on Apr 5, 2013 by eb5147

My high school was touch-feely enough that they wouldn't cut anyone for lack of talent.  But they were able to get rid of me on the grounds that I was "detrimental to team morale."  Let me explain.


It was 10th grade. I loved baseball and knew everything about it.  But I was worthless at playing it.  That didn't stop me from trying out, though! It was a disaster from the start. I didn't get my physical done in time and thus missed the first day of tryouts.  I hadn't played in years and had never faced pitching above a little league level -- I barely touched the ball with the bat.  My fielding was okay on a basic ball-in-glove level but I had no instincts for routes or tracking the ball at all.


So in any just universe I wouldn't have made the team and I could have gone back to Chess Club with my tail between my legs.  But this was touchy-feely suburban New York, where one's self-esteem is never allowed to be harmed.  So I was allowed to stay on the team, albeit as the lowest of the low -- Junior Varsity Player-Manager (like Pete Rose!).  If I paid my dues, I might get a few at bats in a blowout at the end of the year.  So, along with my similarly-talentless friend Matt, I stayed.


Unfortunately staying meant suffering a great deal of humiliation.  The coach never wanted us there and took every opportunity to make the team laugh at our expense.  When they ran around the field before a game, we were told to stay in the dugout and "exercise your thumbs -- you'll be doing the scorebook."  We weren't given uniforms, and the coach even took batting practice for himself, making the kids pitch to him, instead of letting Matt and I get our licks in.  Suffice it to say, it wasn't a pleasure.


I was determined not to give them the satisfaction of seeing me quit, but unfortunately, fate forced my hand.  And my fate I mean, of course, my obnoxious sophomore-in-high-school-who-thinks-he's-smarter-than-everyone tendencies, which weren't helped by the ribbing the coach gave me.  Since I knew so much about baseball I knew which of our players weren't very good, and I took it upon myself to let them know this.  Furthermore, I was affected by a tragic case of I Think I'm Funny Syndrome, which would rear its head at the most inappropriate times.  This all came to a head in a game we were losing badly in.  I was doing the pitch count (the much less interesting of the two player-manager sinecures -- scorebook was way better) and bored.  Amusing myself, and hopefully the rest of the team, I switched into baseball announcer mode and said "Annnnnnddd now Kevin Hyland has reached the 15 pitch plateau."


And that was enough to get me canned.  Innocuous as it seemed, it made the players laugh, Kevin Hyland gave up a bunch of runs and claimed I ruined his concentration, and I was unceremoniously kicked off the team.  But not for lack of talent, somehow!  Because I was detrimental team morale.


So while baseball may be America's national pastime and a subject dear to my heart, I am just not cut out to play it.