Alex’s Unofficial Rules of Little League

In the Hoffer household, every April through mid-July is Little League season! And as a veteran Little League parent, I’ve learned a few things over the years.

With that in mind, allow me to introduce my completely unofficial (and slightly tongue-in-cheek) rules for Little League parents. 

  1. Anticipate the weather being 30 degrees hotter or colder than the temp your weather app said it would be. Dress appropriately, even if that entails long underwear on Memorial Day weekend.
  2. Eat whenever you can leading up to the game. If you need to eat lunch at 10AM or dinner at 4PM, do it. The concession stand hot dog is only good when you are near starvation — and all those who claim it is good are near starvation.
  3. Do eat the concession stand popcorn. It somehow always tastes better at Little League.
  4. The bathroom situation is like Illinois state politics. For the sake of everyone’s stomach, I’ll leave it at that.
  5. Decide beforehand if “having fun” is REALLY what you believe. Every adult claims this is what it’s about, but only about 1% follow through on this belief after the first pitch is thrown.
  6. Remember that the umpire is usually a teenager (in-house game) or volunteer adult (all-star/travel). Neither umpire for a living. Both are human and WILL make mistakes. Ask yourself if you would A. want to umpire and B. be any better at it? If you answer both “yes,” please sign up at your local Little League — we play games every season without an umpire and could use the help.
  7. Obsess more over your kid’s handling of adversity than success. Hitting the home run may happen once or twice a career, but strikeouts will occur more often. So how Junior handles a strikeout, bad call, or any of the frustrations that come with baseball are the most applicable lessons of Little League.
  8. Everyone knows that 99.99% of these kids are not destined for a career in the MLB. A good practice for most dads (and moms!) is to start the day repeating this statistic to themselves over and over. Seriously — repeat it over and over!
  9. Yelling at kids in Little League is just as effective as yelling at your preferred news channel or your favorite team’s mediocre quarterback during the playoff game.
  10. Yelling at coaches and/or making sarcastic remarks is similarly unhelpful. Respectfully, get off your butt and coach if you know everything.
  11. If you’re coaching, however, remember that this is not game seven of the World Series. Elaborate signs, strategy, and the like make you look as petty as one of those politicians you are yelling at in rule #9.
  12. Speaking of yelling: There is simply TOO MUCH yelling at Little League these days. Leave the yelling to the kids clamoring for ice cream or donuts.
  13. Finally, a baker’s dozen donuts can single-handedly help a team come back from an 8-1 last-inning deficit. Don’t ask me how this happens, but I saw it with my own eyes at a tournament this season. Those kids chanted “Donuts! Donuts!” after the game ended. Now THAT is how every little league game should end!