You said it: Cheering is OK

You said it: Cheering is OK

Ron Matthews

This is my 19th year at Alameda Little League and I have enjoyed every year immensely. We have a great community and a great environment for our kids to develop into strong people and that is Little League’s primary purpose. Little League is an international organization that has very detailed rules developed over many years of experience to improve the game, player safety, sportsmanship, and spectating. Our local charter's board of directors works to follow and implement those rules and make local rules that don't stifle us but are needed in order to preserve the great environment that we have.

But it takes more than rules to make Alameda Little League successful. It takes parents who understand the collective challenge that we have to be role models for our youth. By collective, I mean all of us, not just managers and coaches and umpires but as spectators too. Our challenge is to remember that we are ALL teaching LIFE LESSONS to our youth, and how to win AND lose with dignity and good sportsmanship.

Every day something happens at the fields and we can all learn from these situations. My job is to work with the managers to insure that we operate the league the way it is supposed to operate. We look to the team manager to implement league policies and rules, especially the Parent Code of Conduct.

The Alameda Police Department was called to respond to a situation last week at Alameda Little League in which a spectator became agitated when told by members of the opposing team not to cheer loudly. He then confronted those spectators and others and the resulting situation led nearly to a physical altercation. We should all be embarrassed that it could have gone this far. I am!

The correct procedure is for spectators to go to their manager or a board member in the event that they feel that the opponent spectator’s behavior is not within the rules or Parent Code of Conduct. NO SPECTATOR SHOULD EVER CONFRONT AN OPPONENT SPECTATOR! NO SPECTATOR SHOULD EVER TELL ANOTHER SPECTATOR THAT THEIR BEHAVIOR IS INAPPROPRIATE.

If we were to make a rule that stopped POSITIVE cheering, then we should just close up the program and play video games. Baseball and cheering are synonymous, and any effort to prevent cheering is akin to being SCROOGE AT CHRISTMAS! Of course, negative cheering that reflects on any participant is forbidden by our rules and by our Code of Conduct.

Our membership must reflect and realize that it is OK to be a kid, and it is OK to cheer for your teammates at bat, and otherwise. We must never attempt to stop the kids from being kids. Adults are there to make sure they are having fun within the rules, and it wouldn’t be too much fun if you can’t cheer positively!

Ron Matthews
President, Alameda Little League
President, Alameda Wolverines Pop Warner Football and Cheer
President, Alameda High School Boosters
General Manager, Alameda World Tournament Baseball
Board Member, Alameda Boys and Girls Club