Don’t Let this Happen: Dealing with a Vindictive Parent
At Little League® International in Williamsport, Pa., and at our Regional Offices, calls and emails come in all year long about situations that are happening at one of our 7,000 local leagues. Many of these calls and emails inform us of some very positive initiatives spearheaded by our millions of volunteers. However, there are also negative situations.
“Don’t Let This Happen to Your League” details a real-world scenario, how it has impacted a league, and how you might learn from it.
The names have been omitted in the following scenario, but the situation is real.
In accordance with the Little League Operating Manual, a local League President nominates a group of managerial candidates for the upcoming season. The Board of Directors reviews, discusses, and eventually votes to approve its team managers. A volunteer who managed a team the previous season was nominated to manage a team this season, but was not approved by the Board. The volunteer is disappointed, but does not challenge the Board’s decision. Following the annual player draft, the teams are announced and the managers proceed to call their players to notify them about the upcoming practice schedule. The volunteer, who was not selected to manage a team this season, has a daughter playing Little League on the team he managed last season. After allowing the player to take part in team practices and activities throughout the preseason, the parent approaches the team manager and threatens to remove his daughter from the team days prior to the start of the regular season as retribution for not being nominated to manage this season.
After the team manager is informed of the parent’s intentions, she immediately speaks with the division’s Vice President. Understanding the parent’s perceived motivation, the division Vice President contacts the parent, calmly listens to his reasoning, and asks him to reconsider. Initially resisting, claiming that he was “blackballed” by the league, the parent finally admitted that such a rash decision was self-serving; and would negatively impact his daughter’s experience, and disrupt the team. He asked if there were any options for moving his daughter to another team. Referring to the Little League Operating Manual, the division VP explained Little League’s rules for governing player movement, and noted that without a trade to another team in the league, a hardship, or another extenuating circumstance to be considered by the Board, his daughter would have to remain on her current team’s roster. After weighing the options, including removal from the team, the parent eventually relented; his daughter played, and he took on the role of scorekeeper for the duration of the regular season.
Note to Little League Officials:
The League President is responsible for the nomination of all manager, coach and umpire candidates; and it is the Board of Directors that votes to approve (or deny) these nominees. The League President is responsible for confirming that all background checks are completed before any manager, coach or umpire may assume his/her duties with the league. In this case, the background check was not a factor in the Board’s decision. The nominations of the League President are done so after he/she has diligently reviewed the volunteer applications completed during registration, and discussed the candidates with the nominating committee. If a decision is made to not approve and appoint a volunteer to a position that he/she held previously, the League President is responsible for speaking to the subject on behalf of the Board.