Bashing a child's head with a baseball bat can be both an act of
intended or unintended violence. Yesterday, my granddaughter got
hit in the head with a bat. It taught me to be a better
Coach of Vigilance.
2003—Ground Zero Plus 682
Bashing A Child's Head With A
Baseball Bat: The Ugliest Sound
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--July 26,
2003-- Real Terrorism is hearing your five-year-old
granddaughter's head being smashed by a baseball bat.
It's a sickening sound, equal to that of someone dropping a
watermelon from five stories onto concrete.
The accident happened a few feet to my left rear as I was
coaching Little League batting with young kids from the East Village.
I was insuring the kids stayed back from the batter, but didn't catch
sight of an older boy who had slipped in behind me and was practicing
his batting swing. He was the brother of one of the younger kids
who range from 5 years up to eight.
I am not
equipped with a hundred eyes like Argus
I have enough experience
to be wary of kids and bats, and don't allow kids to swing the bat
unless supervised. But, I am not Argus. He had
a hundred eyes and I have only two.
My granddaughter was helping me catch slow pitches.
We stood well back from the batter. Then she dashed to the
right and behind me to chase a ball, and smack into the boy standing
near the fence swinging the bat.
Wood and flesh met in a hollow crunch of flesh and
Violent attacks on the human body by weapons of mass
potential destruction such as a swinging, unsupervised bat around a
Little League Field, rank with suicide bombers and snipers in Iraq--at
least they have the same devastating effect when the victim of the
assault is one of your children or grandchildren, or, for that matter,
any innocent child.
Violence can be intended or unintended. It
has its own nature. It exists in a category by itself.
Unintended violence could be as mundane as a
carload of kids on their way to baseball practice suffering a blowout,
the car careening and overturning, injuring the occupants. Or,
it could be the result of a drunk driver blowing through a stop sign
and broad siding the children-packed vehicle.
Being at the wrong place at the wrong time is not
Take lightening strikes for example.
I don't think people jump to some "X" on the ground in hopes of being
hit by a bolt. But, from 1940 to 1988, 7,741 deaths have
been reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In the U.S. an estimated 20 to 30 million
children play organized sports. One of the big questions
is safety. Injuries happen. I went to the
Little League website and garnered
the following statistics and thought of our casualties in Iraq in
|In 1997 alone, nearly 60,000
children ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for
in-line skating-related injuries, according to the National Safe
Kids Campaign (NSKC). Among the same ages in the same year, more
than 150,000 football injuries and 200,000 basketball injuries
were treated, NSKC reported. That year, NKSC said, more than
125,000 baseball and softball injuries were treated in hospital
emergency rooms nationwide. However, only 70 injuries in Little
League Baseball and Softball activities, ages 5 to 18, were
reported that year.
Participation Figures in Little League
Baseball and Softball, U.S.*
But I kept going
back to the effect a sports injury has on children and parents.
The resulting Fear, Intimidation and Complacency
caused by violence's Terrorism is as real in unintended accidents as
it is when someone purposefully and viciously seeks to inflict pain
and suffering on another.
It is the result not the cause that one reacts
And that's what happened yesterday.
The crippling sound of flesh and wood colliding stopped my heart.
Sarah at bat
during a Little League game
I saw my beautiful granddaughter run crying
to her father, and then the huge lump popped out on her forehead.
It was located on her right temple just below her hairline about the
size and shape of the core of a baseball.
As the boy with the bat approached to look
at Sarah with the others gathered about gawking at the scene, my
instinct was to jerk the bat from his hands and break it. Then,
to scream at the boy, admonish him, humiliate him.
I checked my tongue.
I was the Parent of Vigilance.
So was my son-in-law, the father of Sarah. As Sentinels of
Vigilance, it was our job to patrol the area, to make sure it was
clear of potential Terror. We goofed.
We became Complacent and our radar missed the young boy's potential
threat with the bat.
A few weeks earlier I questioned the lack
of safety because kids coming early to practice often swung their bats
while other kids walked around. Unfortunately, I didn't
yell: "No Bat Swinging Rule In Effect."
It happens that the older brothers of the
younger kids come to the practice. Bored watching their siblings
fumble with the ball, they often hit and throw prior to practice--a
natural thing. But, it is also dangerous because
they are older, stronger.
I over manage batting practice, standing
behind the batter not only to instruct, but to provide safety. I
keep the kids away from the "swinging zone," and the catcher well
back. At the young level we use safety balls, made of a
rubbery substance so if one is hit with the ball the risk of injury is
But the bat has the power of Terrorism.
It is a club, the most ancient of all weapons, turned into a sporting
tool. Cain--the first recorded Terrorist--may well have
based his brother Abel's head in with a "bat-club."
We rushed Sarah to the doctor's office after
getting a cup of ice from a slushie vendor and placing it on the huge
She was conscious. There was no
Fortunately, she was okay.
Thankfully, the bat hit the upper part of her forehead. It could
have smashed into her eye or nose or mouth. We all were
In the aftermath, I realized I had
slipped into Terrorism's Complacency Arms.
Safety slipped in priority.
I forgot the Beast of Terror doesn't
always knock on the door. Sometimes he hides in innocuous
places, or worms his way up behind you when you're not looking.
The boy swinging the bat wasn't a Beast of
Terror. He had no intent to smash someone in the head with his
bat. It was an accident, but one that might have been
prevented had I used my Sentinel of Vigilance training more
effectively, and demanded before practice the "No Bat Swinging Rule!"
I was reminded
of the recent security report by Congress of the "shoulda's and
Even though the boy was not on the
team, not part of our "coaching" responsibility, he served as a
"danger." He was a land mine sitting in ground after the
war was over, waiting for a child to run over it in play.
Swinging bats have no conscience.
I thought of the recent report by
Congress about the "shoulda's coulda's" accusations that America was
remiss in its security systems. The report rips at the
viscera of the CIA and FBI, denouncing them for not alerting Americans
that a potential threat to their security was underfoot, and for not
following up on leads that might have thwarted the September 11th
Then I blinked.
The unintended attack on my
granddaughter was not unlike the intended attack on the World Trade
Center, a sight my granddaughter witnessed in the arms of her
grandmother as they watched the towers explode from the East Village
It all comes down to results,
Our leaders had no intent to
subject the United States to an attack, even though one might think
that by reading some of the accusations being politically slung at
The boy swinging the bat at
practice yesterday did not intend to injure a little girl.
And, there is no question I
could have done a more Vigilant job of managing the safety and
security of the ball field.
There is never any question
that we can always be more Vigilant.
But there is good out of bad.
I am installing a "No Bat
Swinging" rule with the team and all the parents and all the kids who
come to practice. All bats will be placed in one
pile, and anyone with one in their hands other than at the plate under
supervision will be asked to leave the field.
My goal now is to keep the
potential for the next "bat attack" is check.
I also believe our stand on
Terrorism as a nation--in the aftermath of our Complacency--deserves
recognition. Since Nine Eleven, there has been no further
Terrorist attacks on the country by foreign elements.
A "NO BAT
SWINGING" rule will be in effect, even for Kim Jong Il of
In a way, the U.S. has installed a "No Bat
Further, the U.S. has gone to
great lengths to police Terrorism abroad. It cleaned out the
Terrorist nests in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is now poised to lend a
hand in Liberia. The "No Bat Swinging" rule by
America is being broadcast to all Terrorists who seek to use Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency as bludgeons to force submission over
That mandate: "No
Terror Bat Swinging" is being etched globally. Kim Jong Il
(pictured on right) hears
it, and, the next Terrorist who thinks he or she can invade with
impunity the world, hears it.
I know I'm going to be a
better coach and much more Vigilant as a result of my granddaughter's
bout with the bat.
So will the other people
on the team--the players, the fans, the parents.
Our Complacency has been
Our Vigilance has been
called to the front.
The batting incident was
unintentional, but its result was no different than the Nine Eleven
attack on our beautiful city and nation. We now have been
forced to become Parents of Vigilance, Loved Ones of Vigilance,
Brothers and Sisters of Vigilance.
Sarah is a
Child of Vigilance
My granddaughter carries on her
forehead the Lump of the Beast. But, that mark has not
stopped her from playing ball. Yesterday, she announced she
wanted to play in today's game, and "no bat to the head" was going to
stop her from making a hit.
She's a Child of Vigilance.
I hope to be as big a Man of
Vigilance as she.
Join the "No Terror Bat
Take the Pledge of Vigilance
July 25--Jessica Lynch: Community
Vigilance Rules Over National Vigilance
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