School First, First Base Second

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By: Kellen Westering ’16


Kellen Westering             Credit:

Those of you reading this opinion article learned how to read either through public school, private school or home school.

Chicago White Sox designated hitter Adam LaRoche is retiring from baseball. Not because he is burnt out on the sport, not because he can’t hit a baseball anymore but because team president Ken Williams told LaRoche that he had to cut back the time his 14-year-old son, Drake, spent with the team.

LaRoche, 36, is walking away from a $13 million dollar contract this season.

When I first saw this story I thought that it was pretty profound that a professional athlete would walk away from that much money for something he firmly believed in. LaRoche is big on family. After he announced his retirement, he tweeted out thanking the Lord for allowing him to play baseball with the hashtag #familyfirst. Many of the stars in Major League Baseball such as Bryce Harper and Chipper Jones supported LaRoche with tweets also with the hashtag #familyfirst.

I was totally in support of LaRoche for standing up for what he believed in.

Then I got to hearing about how much time LaRoche’s son Drake was spending in the clubhouse. It was way too much time for a 14-year-old. He had his own locker for goodness sake. I’ve had the opportunity to be in the Seahawks locker room after a game and after I felt like I needed to take a shower and wash my mouth out with soap because of the language I heard. I’m sure Drake heard many things that a 14-year-old 9th grader should never hear.

Imagine if every player from the Chicago White Sox organization brought his little one to the clubhouse. It would turn into a day care facility. The wives of the players would be asking their husbands what time drop off and pick up are. I have no problem with kids spending time with their parents at work but there’s a time and a place for that and it needs to be in the appropriate setting.

With all this time Drake spends in the clubhouse, he must be home schooled. Or is he?

I read a story by Will Leitch who writes for a website called, “Sports on Earth.” The title of his article is, “Good Lesson, Clubhouse isn’t School.” There’s a quote in the story from Adam LaRoche and this gives you the inside look into the story and who Adam LaRoche is. “Me and my wife, we’re not big on school. I told my wife he’s going to learn a lot more useful information in a clubhouse then he will in the classroom, as far as life lessons.”

After reading that, my respect for Adam LaRoche just went out the window faster then the baseball coming off his bat after he’d hit a home run in Safeco Field. Not big on schools huh?

So I have some news for you Adam LaRoche. All of our teachers, accountants, doctors, nurses and principles went to something called a school. That Louisville Slugger bat you use, guys who created those went to school as well. They probably went to Harvard, Yale, USC, Cal, Texas or Wisconsin.

People give schools a bad rep. Everybody is always criticizing teachers. Well guess what? They have to deal with your child too. Ever been to a school? Just walk down the halls of one. You’ll see boys fighting, spit-wads and girls screaming that they can’t get attention on instagram.

Schools sometimes do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to parenting. Thank God the schools are filled with the teachers I had. My best friend’s parents were going through a divorce. Those teachers were surrogate fathers for him. To this day I have an amazing relationship with teachers I had growing up. Rob Stoltenberg, June Corley, Rico Ancehtta, know them well, talk to them on occasion. I will never forget the impact they had on me. They have and always will be, true role models in my life.

I believe team president Ken Williams was doing LaRoche a favor when he told him that Drake’s time around the team needed to be cut back. LaRoche could continue to make a lot of money for his family and his son Drake could be getting a quality education. But I guess you would’ve had to go to school to know that.

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