By Kurt English | NB Indy
Lots of good people are involved with Little League in Newport Beach and throughout the United States.
They spend hours volunteering, avoid pettiness, keep their egos in check, and put the children’s interests first.
However, a very small minority of adults failed the Newport Beach Little Leaguers.
On March 8, about 700 children ages 5 – 13 enjoyed opening day ceremonies with the Newport Beach Little League.
Days later on Wednesday March 12, District 55 Administrator Tamara Alexander emailed Dave Bonham, the interim director of the Little League Western Regional Headquarters, asking that Newport Beach Little League be suspended.
Later that day, Bonham emailed Newport Beach Little League President Gary Borquez suspending the league.
Borquez claimed that the suspension email didn’t state which rules were allegedly violated, and said he had no advance notice.
However, according to KABC-TV, in Alexander’s email asking Bonham to suspend Newport Beach Little League, she whined about having “exhausted extensive time” trying to get Borquez to follow rules.
Newport Beach Little League President Gary Borquez admitted the problem was, “More of an administrative, clerical error, but we were at fault there.”
How did this management failure happen?
Some adults let their egos and their stubborn interpretation of bureaucratic rules interfere with the mission and purpose of children’s sports.
When children play sports, they learn rules, learn to follow instructions, learn good sportsmanship, build stamina, develop physical skills, improve sport skills, and learn to function as a team instead of just as an individual.
While posturing and pointing fingers over bureaucratic rules and failing to function as a team, the adults in charge failed to perform, so 700 children and their coaches were bullied into not practicing or playing games from Thursday March 13 through Sunday March 16.
This is how bureaucrats behave, not leaders. It’s unclear who was and wasn’t following the rules, or if the rules even make sense. When bureaucrats make up rules, they sometimes get power hungry and assert control that no one authorized them to have. An example of this type of overreach is IRS bureaucrat Lois Lerner and her colleagues illegally targeting taxpayers they don’t like.
Other times bureaucrats interpret and enforce rules accurately in ways that fail to achieve the result the rules or the organization were established to accomplish. In this case, Little League bureaucrats provided no value and made the rules more important than the mission of the organization. Too many IRS, EPA and Interior Department actions fall into this category. Either way, these bureaucrats should have found a way for the children to play.
On Sunday, March 16, many Newport Beach Little League players and parents gathered to protest this senseless failure of bureaucrats to perform competently. Some children had protest signs. Good for them! It’s valuable for children to learn how bureaucrats can harm their interests and to hold them accountable.
Did taxpayer parents who paid a registration fee to the Little League and did additional fundraising (like selling candy and discount cards), after paying taxes to build and maintain the fields where the games are played, get what they paid for? No. Should they get at least a prorated refund on the registration fee?
Did the bureaucrats have the right to bully parents, children and coaches this way? The children could have played at city or school owned facilities with or without the consent of regional bureaucrats. Scores of games played by the younger children aren’t kept officially. So what if Little League bureaucrats refused to sanction the younger children’s games if they played anyway? The children would have avoided punishment for leadership failures of adults.
Some parents expressed concerns about insurance being cancelled during a period of suspension. In the future, the local league could buy its own secondary liability insurance so locals get liability protection and can’t be held hostage by bureaucrats.
Everyone involved owes these parents a full and complete explanation. Everyone who caused children to miss their games on Saturday, March 15 should be fired. Administrator Alexander and Regional Director Bonham should be the first to go.
By the way, did you know there is an alternative youth baseball league in Newport Beach? It is the Newport Harbor Baseball Association (playnhba.com).