Write a Review

And Then There Was Fun

All Rights Reserved ©


Willowdale, Kansas is the essence of small town America. In this Midwest village, the townspeople cherish God, country and their Little League program. Then the league's coaches start to perish one after another....

Mystery / Thriller
Michael Connelly
5.0 33 reviews
Age Rating:


The motive behind the story And Then There Was Fun

Some of my fondest memories from my childhood are associated with the game of baseball. As a boy, nothing made me happier than sliding my glove onto the handlebars of my bike and riding down to Billings Field or the Ripley schoolyard to play the sport that I love.

It was at these makeshift fields, that kids from all over the neighborhood would descend upon the diamond like a scene from a Dr. Seuss story. With baseballs wrapped in electric tape and kids calling dibs on their wooden bats, we would etch out bases with the heel of our Chuck Taylor or PF Flyer sneakers and proceed to play all day without interference or intrusion of adults of any form.

Sadly, those days of childhood innocence have faded away. Flipping baseball cards and games of stickball against neighborhood teams are a thing of the past. Instead, kids travel the country playing in showcase tournaments or paying some AAU program four figures for the right to play the game that we used to play every day for fun (and free).

Maybe it was the birth of ESPN, or it was the escalation of athletic salaries that motivated parents to turn youth sports into a lottery card. Unfortunately, moms and dads no longer see the game as a chance to celebrate their sons or daughters’ health and blessings, but instead view the activity as an opportunity to advance their own fragile self-esteem.

These days a child can’t shoot a basketball, throw a pitch, or hit a key on the piano without the overbearing guidance of some parent, coach, or trainer.

Ultimately, this strategy has proven to be counter-productive. Recent studies have shown that by the time kids reach the age of thirteen that seventy percent of boys and girls choose to quit team sports all together.

It’s because of the phenomenon of overbearing adults that I felt compelled to pen a story that sheds light on the world of youth sports. It is the intention of the parody to stir the reader to reflect upon the direction of youth activities and what role adults have played in this epidemic.

I must stress, “And Then There Was Fun” is NOT an indictment on the organization of Little League but instead a statement about the dynamic of adults in activities involving children. Little League was the stage chosen for this fictional novel because the Williamsport organization is the face of youth sports. On their website, Little League declares themselves as the preeminent athletic endeavor for children in the world.

“Better than any youth sport activity, baseball and softball have become the thread that has sewn together a patchwork of nations and cultures around the world….Millions of children on six continents can attest that baseball, softball, and Little League are synonymous.”

Consequently, I wrote this book from a perspective that is “synonymous” with youth activities to provide the most significant point of reference for the reader. Millions and millions of adults have direct experience with Little League whether as a player, or parent of a player (or both). Therefore, they will be able to draw upon this understanding while they read the book.

It should also be noted that my fictional characters, plot, and overall text isn’t representative of any one person or experience or incident; instead, it’s an amalgamation of movies, shows, newspaper articles, real-life youth sports incidents all weaved together.

The issue of inappropriate behavior at youth sports is so prominent in our society that when I Googled “youth sports violence,” I was directed to 41,800,000 files. Even more specific, when I typed the words “Little League arrests,” there were 1,420,000 files available to search. So, although this book is by every means - fictional, each week there is another story from a hockey rink, Little League field, AAU basketball court that might give the reader the impression that this book was based on a true story.

In Reading, Massachusetts, a father beat his son’s hockey coach to death.

In Lake Charles, Louisiana the league president was arrested for embezzling funds from the league’s account.

Clearwater, Florida – Little League coach struck in head with bat swung by unhappy parent of a player.

Pennsylvania – a former police officer, was found guilty of offering to pay a Little Leaguer to bean another player.

Note: this book is not a blanket criticism of all adults involved in youth activities but a statement about a sad, misguided element that is all too often present at Little League games, cheerleading competitions, spelling bees, and soccer jamborees. As a result, I have invoked my rights under the charter of “poetic license” to embellish, exaggerate, and satirize to personify the scourge of this belligerent behavior that plagues the world of youth sports.

The seed for this book bloomed after watching the 2002 Little League World Series Championship game between Louisville, Kentucky, and Sendai, Japan. During that broadcast, on ABC, a burly right-hander named Aaron Alvey was dominating the competition from the Far East while carrying his town, state, and country on his fragile twelve-year-old right arm. Adding to the weight of the moment was the fact that this was Alvey’s fourth pitching appearance in nine days in which he would throw over 350 pitches (350 pitches!). (The average Major League starting pitcher wouldn’t throw 200 pitches over that same period). Inevitably, the stress placed upon his body caused him to seek medical treatment for shoulder discomfort. Following the examination, the trainer told the ABC on-field announcer, “It’s not something that I think will cause permanent damage.”

Even though the 12-year-old had alerted his overseers about his shoulder pain, his coaches kept sending him out to the mound. At one point in the game, Alvey’s velocity and pitch selection was not to the liking of his coach, Dan Roach. Incensed, the Kentucky manager made his way out to the mound to challenge his pitcher to stop being “Greg Maddux-like” and to “hype yourself back up and get your fastball back to zipping....Lock and Load!”

So Alvey locked and loaded and did what his coaches told him to do. In the broadcast booth, TV analysts, and former Major League greats, Tony Gwynn and Harold Reynolds grew troubled about the burden placed upon the young pitcher’s arm.

Gwynn remarked, “As a parent, I would be concerned. I don’t want my twelve-year-old pitcher to LEAVE his arm out here on the mound in Williamsport.” Harold Reynolds immediately agreed, “To me, he’s thrown too many pitches.”

Alvey would go on to finish the game, win the World Series and go back to Kentucky world champion.

Aaron Alvey’s pitching stats for the eight days:

Date.....Innings...Pitches Thrown





9 Days / 22 Innings / 354 pitches

This was the moment that convinced me that youth sports had lost its way. Right there on national television - an adult chose fulfillment over the wellbeing of a child that he was obliged to protect. And thus, the book - “And Then There Was Fun.”

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Natasha: I love the strong female character in Bridget! 😍 Can't wait for Book 2!

bwhit1230: That was totally amazing 😍

Jennifer Leigh Anne Ciliska: Wow that was incredible!!! Very spicy l Loved it!! Thank you for sharing your story with me

sharonharder4: Interesting point of view. Good read. Looking forward to the sequel. :)

Cici2022: Its a fast pace novel. Was surprised how quick i was able to finish. Its sweet, gives out that tingly vibe. Love it

Flower: Another well written and compelling story in this series! Two beautiful souls tormented by life who find each other. Difficult topics treated with respect and compassion ❤️❤️❤️

Lisa: A few errors, but overall I love this book so far

ealtman19231: I liked the whole witch,werewolf, concept. This keeps you wanting more. I would recommend this book to all my friends that enjoy a great book

lindacottrell56: This was a sweet, lovely love story. I enjoyed reading it. I love happy endings and was glad everything worked out in the end. Regards Linda

More Recommendations

Janelle: We need the rest

Katie Jones: It was a bit slow and would of preferred more character development and complex sorry line but it was an easy and enjoyable read.

sherryal5: Great story! Wonderful characters and interesting story telling! I didn't want the story to end

melindajordaan: I loved this story, can't wait to read the next book.

Carito: I loved this series so far! Cried with Nicole’s story in the second book and couldn’t leave it, I binged read this one!

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.