Sliding into moral squalor

By The West Virginia Record | May 24, 2013

Anyone who’s played baseball or softball for any length of time knows how fun it is to slide. Whether you do it feet or head first, once you get the hang of it, it’s a thrilling experience – especially when you beat the tag and are safe.

Sliding is so much fun, some players almost get addicted to it, and the coach has to remind them:

• “You can’t get on first by sliding.”

• “You don’t need to slide into every base when you’ve hit a home run.”

• “Our team’s not at bat. You’re the baseman. The runner slides, not the baseman.”

Sliding is kind of like dancing. It comes naturally to some people, others have to work at it, and some never quite master it.

It can be harmful, too, if not done properly, but baseball and softball are full of hazards: bats swinging, balls flying, excited youths running at breakneck speed.

There’s always the possibility of getting beaned by a pitch when you’re batting, being struck by a line drive when you’re playing infield, colliding with a teammate in pursuit of a pop fly, etc.

Being cautious and wearing the right equipment can help minimize the risks, but they’re still there. Anyone who expects to play ball without ever getting hurt is living in a dreamworld.

You can even get hurt at practice, like Courtney Roberts did three years ago when she was 14. She broke her ankle while participating in a sliding drill.

Did she suck it up, convalesce, and come back stronger?

Not exactly. Several months later, her parents filed suit in circuit court against the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Softball League. They now allege that the three-year-old ankle injury will prevent their daughter from earning millions of dollars as a registered nurse.

Defense attorneys have asked for a summary judgment in favor of the league.

There wouldn’t have been a suit in the first place if the Robertses had just let it slide.

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