Originally Posted by berry987
Well, yes. My oldest is 5 and he runs around the neighborhood unsupervised everyday. He has boundaries - he can't go off our street, not in anyone's home, etc.) but he is often out of sight. Very few people have fences here and they are very friendly about neighbor kids. My 3 yo also goes out and plays around the neighborhood. I only let him go when his brother is with him because I know he follows rules better when his big bro is watching. I'm sure by 8 I will let them walk to the park alone. I certainly did when I was that age and, contrary to popular belief, it is not more dangerous now.
Aww, I wanna move to your neighborhood! Sounds like how we grew up. We lived at the end of a cul-du-sac, and our backyard neighbors and side neighbors had girls our age, and none of our yards were fenced, so we pretty much had the run of a big three-yard area. When we were younger, if we wanted to cross our backyard neighbor's street, we had to ask specific permission, but as we got older (maybe by the time I was 8-ish?), we could walk to the park (across that street, down a block, up a little path through the woods) as long as we told one parent. Freedom, with rules and responsibility. My best childhood friend lived in the house behind me, we played together nearly every day, and I'm not sure I remember what the inside of her house looked like.
As to the OP, I think that leaving a kid of that age at a supervised athletic event is fine. My parents often had THREE kids playing soccer games at the same time. As the oldest, I'd often get dropped off and left by myself while my parents attended my younger sisters' games... sometimes at the same field facility, and sometimes at the field across town. They'd tell the coach that I'd be sticking around a little late, that I had permission to be by myself and watch the later games or help clean up if it was the last game, and then they'd high-tail it out of my sisters' games as soon as they were done (like... grab the treat and eat it in the car kind of high-tailing it)
But I can say that having been a coach and a teacher for a good while now... it is a very hard situation to be in when parents are just late with no warning. You have all the responsibility and no real authority. So you sit, eating up time you could be spending with your own family. You ask, "Are you SURE your dad doesn't have a cell phone? Was someone else going to come get you today? Is there someone else I can call?" You see a kid who feels forgotten and dejected... or a kid who is so used to it that they don't even realize that they SHOULDN'T be the only kid left on the field, for an extra half hour, with no explanation, week after week.
I realize that punctuality isn't a priority for everyone, but... things like this bug me to no end.