What We Shouldn't Have Learned from the Jericho Scott Incident

Erik CunninghamCorrespondent ISeptember 19, 2008

If you played Little League baseball while growing up, then I’m sure you’ve dealt with it before. The one kid in your league that no one could touch. He was 6'0" at the age of nine and could chuck the ball over the plate so fast that the pop of the catchers mitt could be heard before the bat even came off your shoulder.

You just learned to deal with this monster because if you ever connected against him it made your whole week. The parents and coaches of New Haven, CT’s Liga Juvenile de Baseball, however, found a different way to deal with it.

Jericho Scott might not be a giant, but the nine-year-old throws 40 mph, too fast for most of the players in the eight-team league to keep up with. His team, Will Power Fitness, started the season 8-0 before the league finally stepped in and said Scott couldn’t pitch anymore.

Scott, who hadn’t hit a batter all season, is simply being punished for being too good. What, exactly, is banning him from taking the mound teaching the youth of this league?

We learn some pretty hard facts growing up playing youth sports. We find out some people are just flat-out better than us, and that the only way we’re going to get on the same level as them is if we work hard.

What these kids are being taught is that if someone is better than them, to not worry about it, because he won’t be around for long if you complain enough.

So when little Johnny who couldn’t hit a fastball when he was nine years old gets his first big boy job in the world, what’s he going to do when he can’t hit quota? Go complain to the boss that Jericho is taking all of his sales and that he just can’t keep up with him?

What’s the boss going to do? He’s going to laugh and tell John to get out there and try harder.

Now, I understand there are those who say that sports are supposed to be all about having fun. In youth it’s all about learning the fundamentals and getting your juice box and apple slice after the game, but we also need to understand that we learn some pretty important life lessons as kids.

We learn to listen and to be coached. We make friends. But the one thing I’ve always taken from the game is that to be great at something, you have to work for, no one just hands it to you.

If you’re curious, Scott took the mound less than a week later after the ban, the other team packed up their equipment and left, leaving Scott and his team with no one to play against. The league later ordered the team be disbanded, but Will Power Fitness refused.

Unfortunately, it looks like Scott and his team are having to learn another lesson: It’s lonely at the top.