Kids activities and sports. How big of a deal is it to miss a practice? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-05-2007, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also: How involved are your kids? What's your approach to the leagues and organized sports?

So my kids are younger (just about 4 and 21 months). I am not against organized activities at all. My older son and I have always done park district tot classes in addition to playgroups, the occasional swimming class at the Y, and that sort of thing. Now that he's older we're thinking about soccer and swimming lessons (many of his pre-K peers already do ballet or karate and the like) and are trying to prioritize. I don't bleieve in over-scheduling at all, but I think a couple activities are great.

That out of the way. I have a lot of older nieces and nephews. Some are (imnsho) overscheduled, some are just in a sport or two that seemingly meets all the time. We're throwing a big, extended-family bday party for my son, and not surprisingly no one family with a kid over 5 is coming, because they all have sports on Saturdays and can't or won't miss. Of course it's my son's party so it bothers me a little, and I don't have older kids, so I admit I just don't get it.

Is it so bad to miss a single baseball or soccer game? Seriously wondering, not being snide. Do you think parents take it too seriously for seven, eight and nine year-olds, or is it really required for some of these park districts or private leagues to attend each and every practice or game? I have my opinions, but then I don't have older kids. Just wondering what you all think and how you deal with these things if you do any organized sports...I think sports are wonderful but it seems like some of them meet so often and require such dedication.
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Old 04-05-2007, 04:20 PM
 
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I don't think I can speak to whether or not it's really that big of a deal in general, but from my perspective I can say that I will make every effort to ensure my ds doesn't miss a game. I can think of a time or two he may miss a practice, because I do think that's less of a deal. But you make a commitment to be a part of a team and the team relies on you and I think it behooves us (by us, I mean my dh and I) to see it through. My ds is playing baseball for the first time and the schedule is much more hardcore than I'd realized prior to signing him up. Practice once or twice weekly, two games each week. He would definitely have to politely decline a party invitation that interfered with the game because it's not just my ds who misses out--actually he'd probably be fine with it--it's the principle of a team and all members being able to rely on one another. They've both played soccer and that's less of an issue with only one practice and one game each week that always occurs in the morning hours. But they're still young. As they age, it all increases. Mine are also in karate, but I don't feel as obligated to make sure they go (although they rarely miss) because karate is all about the self and there isn't a group of people requiring your presence for their ultimate success. So if an event occurs on karate night (such as a baseball game), they might miss. If it's a game, only ds will miss, dd will still go.

I'm sorry it hurts. I'd try not to take it personally if I were you. I know that we have many beloved family members that we'd have to say no to for something like that and we'd feel badly, but there is this commitment we made that we feel we have to honor. We'd try to make it after though if possible.

To speak for a moment to the hardcore aspects of it. I agree. It's too much. I really didn't understand how much time we'd be committing, but now we're here and ds loves it. And the problem is that if he wants to continue with the sport (and I think he does), he is going to have to be as committed as the rest, because he is already dramatically behind his peers since we didn't sign him up the second he turned four. Now here he is, almost eight years old, in his first year (and he still seems really young for the sport to me), and all these other kids have been involved for four years already, with private coaches and summer camp and winter ball and you name it and if he has any hope, well, he simply cannot miss a moment. Sad and wrong and I'm not sure if there is any change I can even elicit because I seem to be the only one who kind of sees it as too much...well, me, my dh and my father who also coached for years and years and thinks the increasingly young ages is insane. Be the change you want to see and all that, but at the end of the day on this one, if I'm the lone voice in the dark, the one left behind is not me, it's my son. And that doesn't feel right either.

great, now I'm feeling all morose.
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Old 04-05-2007, 04:41 PM
 
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Well, families differ and sports/leagues differ, so I'm not sure my experience is transferable, but for what it's worth...

DS plays Little League, and this is our second year. In addition, I am the "team mom" and my DH does some coaching. We try very, very hard not to miss a game. Practice isn't such a big deal, but games are important for several reasons. First, as the PP said, its sents an example of teamwork and commitment -- we made a commitment to this team, the team depends on you, thus you need to be there. Commitments and teamwork are important in our family values, so we work hard to model and follow through. To say "we will skip the game because of 2nd cousins 3rd birthday" would be wrong. Of course, "we will skip the game for grandma's 100th" is a different story because that is a once-in-a-lifetime event and takes special priority.

In practical terms, as few as 3 kids missing a game for our team means a forfeit. So the kids that were there -- from both teams -- don't get to play and that's just not fair to them. There is no score and no standings at our level, but the kids still want to play and denying them that isn't right. Right now my DS has a broken arm, so the pressure is on for the other kids to always be there so its not a forfeit game. Even with a broken arm we are going to the games as a mark of still being part of the team and so I can do my job as team mom.

So yes, we would decline an invitation if it interfered with a game, though games are only 2 hours and we would find out if coming later was an option. One adult and DS have to be at the game, but the other parent and DD could come to a party and we do frequently split for these sorts of conflicts. I don't let the games take over our whole day or everyone in the family, but they do come first because we made that commitment first. Just as if we had two party invites for the same day, we would go to the one that we committed to first.
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Old 04-05-2007, 05:02 PM
 
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I am not a big sports person and dd is too young for organized sports. But I have been participating in musical groups (bands and orchestra) since I was a small child. I imagine it is much the same. Any one person missing from a rehearsal or concert has a big impact on the group. I do not miss rehearsals for the groups I play in, even though they are just non-professional community groups, unless I have a very good reason. Birthday parties do not fall under "very good reason" unless like a pp said, it is grandma's 100th. I even tried very hard in the past to tailor business travel around it.

So, while I do think kid's sports is a bit out of control, I do think that when someone commits to a team (or any group) they should do their part to be there. IMO, that includes extended family birthday parties.

We do not live near any family but we have a lot of family friends that have strange work schedules and other frequent but random commitments. When planning dd's party every year, I send out an email about a month ahead of time with several potential dates to see when the most people can attend. It is a pain, but if I want a good turn out, it is pretty much necessary.
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Old 04-05-2007, 07:52 PM
 
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I will be the voice of dissent.

It's a freaking game. My family is far more important to us than baseball, soccer etc. My nephews are in organized sports, and their coaches were informed at the beginning of the season that if a game runs past 3PM on a sunday, tough cookies. The boys can't miss sunday dinner at Grandma's.

Major events, like birthdays, are planned and everyone is invited at least 3 weeks ahead of time. That would give enough time to inform coaches that they will miss a day.
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Old 04-05-2007, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah there is lots of time ahead. I've tried the "get back to me on dates" thing but with my family I got the message that the weekends were all the same (games) and with dh's family they just don't get back to you with any definitive answer, so I decided it was best to pick a date (with anything) and whoever comes, comes.

I get it a little more now, esp. if kids always missed and it meant a forfeit. I know commitment is important and I obviously have no way of knowing with any child just how important it is, wrt forfeit risks, how many people are needed, how many people mis, etc. But I still have trouble wrapping my mind around putting a game before a family member's birthday or something else important.
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:16 PM
 
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I hope no one minds me jumping in as I don't often frequent this forum.

I have two boys in various activities (ages 10 and 8). Until we moved, I always kept them in recreational leagues which were more about learning and less about winning. Thus scores weren't kept. It was really great because the pressure was really off the kids and they had alot of fun.

We moved this past summer and even 7-8 yo baseball and football is competitive with tournaments... Wow! I do think that is too much for this age, but my kids LOVE it! Since they have signed up, I make sure they are committed to going and participating. If they "just don't feel like it" well that isnt' an excuse. Their team is counting on them to participate. However... they are children, this isn't the major leagues, and important events come first.

They have both already missed games/practice for their spring sports due to their commitment to Tae Kwon Do. They had testing and well... TKD is very expensive and they aren't missing that one The other sports are secondary. I am pregnant with twins and if I end up on bedrest, we have made plans for them to go be with family. Thus all sports/TKD and other activities are on hold.

I think it is a fine line for the kids to learn about committment and responsiblity. But I also think it is wrong to make a child's team so much more important then family. I do not think that sends the correct message to our children either.

Now if you do get into something that is more serious (usually with older children) or that is a once a year thing (TKD national tournament, spelling bee, state tournements, etc), then I think those things can top out most family events.
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Old 04-06-2007, 02:40 AM
 
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depends on the type of league. we have invitation only leagues and if you miss a game or practice even for school you will not be invited back for the next season. Some parents invest well over $10,000 a year in these sports which is also a consideration. and I am talking about late elementary here. There is a lot of pressure. and if you don't lose your spot on the team you could very well get benched for several games. My friends kid (5th grader) missed the last 20 minutes of practice to attend a school thing and was benched for the next two games out of spite. It is madness!

and then there is Y-ball where it is all pretty much optional but if you start being the wink link on the team the other players might be hard on you.

I fall somewhere in the middle. unless my kids were extremely close to your kids i probably wouldn't skip a game or practice to be at a birthday party unless it was a very special party. We would make an effort to show up and say Happy birthday but birthday parties just aren't high on our priority list (sorry) and to be honest i don't think I would give up a free Saturday afternoon much less cancel plans (of any sort) for it.

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Old 04-06-2007, 02:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LiamnEmma View Post
My ds is playing baseball for the first time and the schedule is much more hardcore than I'd realized prior to signing him up. Practice once or twice weekly, two games each week. He would definitely have to politely decline a party invitation that interfered with the game because it's not just my ds who misses out--actually he'd probably be fine with it--it's the principle of a team and all members being able to rely on one another. They've both played soccer and that's less of an issue with only one practice and one game each week that always occurs in the morning hours.
This is why I haven't signed up my son (7) for baseball. (A homeschooling friend gave me the heads up on the local baseball and basketball leagues... she said they get intense too young.)

a) I hate it (too freakin' boring)
b) insane time commitment (2-3 practices a week and a game)
c) I like that he does other, varied things during the week (art lesson one day, ice skating another, sports one morning a week - that just ended.)

Soccer is another story. One practice and one eaaarrrly morning weekend game. Perfect. Fun to watch and he loves it.

Would we miss a soccer game for a birthday party? Yes, if it was important to us (friend or family). But that is easy because there is still a game if 1 or 2 kids are not there.

Can't say the same for baseball (as the other posters have mentioned) so both teams showed up for nothing - and that is a shame.

Why not let them play anyway??? Oh too organized. Later for your league sirs!

We had a birthday party last weekend. Many children didn't make it : because they had baseball games that Saturday and one child ditched their game so he could come. Another came for the last hour (because he was dying to come.)

Hazelnut, I'm curious (I don't know) do you think if you held the party on Sunday, you'd have them show up (do people have baseball games on Sundays?) Would you be willing to change the day?

I don't think necessarily they take it "too seriously." I think they feel obligated to do it (especially with baseball.)

But dang, a family reunion? I'd miss the game for that! Can't people come afterwards? Are they not even willing to show up afterwards?

10 - boy
5.5 - girl
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Old 04-06-2007, 03:33 AM
 
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I will be the voice of dissent.

It's a freaking game. My family is far more important to us than baseball, soccer etc. My nephews are in organized sports, and their coaches were informed at the beginning of the season that if a game runs past 3PM on a sunday, tough cookies. The boys can't miss sunday dinner at Grandma's.

Major events, like birthdays, are planned and everyone is invited at least 3 weeks ahead of time. That would give enough time to inform coaches that they will miss a day.

i TOTALLY agree with you.. they are kids for crying out loud... since when did 'coach joe' get to run my family's schedule?? yes its nice if everyone shows up but thats not reality... and im sorry but im NOT spending 10,000's dollars on coaching etc... its SPORTS its susposed to be FUN, not stressful,

i think this is part of the reason my 2 oldest prefer art class, library classes, etc.. occasional zoo camp or the like...
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:43 AM
 
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I am completely on the fence with this one. Part of me thinks, "Yeah, it's just a game" and part of me thinks that if you know that all of these kids can't make it, then why don't you change the time/day so that they can attend your birthday party? This won't be the last time this happens.

My dd is in gymnastics. She's not competitive, but I've paid good money for her to take the lessons and she gets a lot of great things from the class. She's 5 years old and is in a pre-K class. Every party is on Saturday. I decline those that conflict with gymnastics. If they start after 1pm, we can go. If not, I let them know that we might make it for only a portion of the party or not at all, depending on the time. If I were to cancel gymnastics for every party she's invited to, she would rarely be there and I would have completely wasted my money.
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Old 04-06-2007, 09:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Hazelnut View Post
We're throwing a big, extended-family bday party for my son, and not surprisingly no one family with a kid over 5 is coming, because they all have sports on Saturdays and can't or won't miss. Of course it's my son's party so it bothers me a little, and I don't have older kids, so I admit I just don't get it.
If it is important to you that they are there, then have the party at a different time, such as a Sunday afternoon.

It isn't your place to judge other people's lives and priorities, but if YOU want to see them, then it makes sense to invite them when they are available.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 04-06-2007, 10:16 AM
 
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If it is important to you that they are there, then have the party at a different time, such as a Sunday afternoon.

It isn't your place to judge other people's lives and priorities, but if YOU want to see them, then it makes sense to invite them when they are available.
I don't think the OP is placing any judgements ...that is not how i saw it. She is just expressing her amazement that she is having trouble scheduling a party because of little league.I can understand it because i lost a friendship when my friend started her kids on little league..every weekend ( Sundays included) and that was the end of her and my kids playdates. Yes..i understand that the kids have commitments and not missing a game is important. I also get that when you want to have family over and also freinds just to play and get together and have downtime...it is bitter pill to swallow when noone can make it.
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Old 04-06-2007, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Jeez Louise. I didn't judge them. I said I didn't understand it and asked how it was for other parents here of older kids- primarily b/c I know a lot of mdc mamas dont' just automatically follow the pack and overschedule.

Since you're making assumptions: My dh's family is huge and our home is not, so we are having it at a park district facility and Sunday is not an option. There are two time slots on Saturday, and there were two Saturday's available within a month of his birthday. For this occasion I'm not going to do it two months later, and as I said, from what I discovered all weekends were basically the same. You're also assuming I didnt' take anyone's schedule into consideration. Before we put the money down we called several families a month ahead of time (and sent the invites 3.5 weeks ahead of time) and asked if they could make it, just to be sure we had at least some. I have tried the "check first" approach and while it sounds viable, it didn't work at all for my husband's family and was impossible to make sure everyone would come (though I said that already).

The point of the thread wasn't to come here and complain that every single person couldn't make it to my son's birthday party after I supposedly randomly picked some date. It got both my husband and I wondering why these sports are so important that no kids are willing to miss one game, ever, and we're wondering how we can have our kids play sports and learn commitment without being like that. I don't expect everyone to come, I'm just disappointed that so many are missing b/c we have attended countless parties for them, and this is his first big party. Sometimes I think it can send a weird message to kids too- that sports come before everything.

You know I have two nieces in another state who are in a very serious soccer league (8 and 10). Apparently they are ranked nationally, are exceptionally good, practice a lot, and are really, really love it to death. If they lived here I wouldn't expect them to miss a game. It's just that I know many of the other kids are not on any super competitive team or anything- just ayso and then local baseball. That's what I don't get. So unless I'm really missing something (the mentioned forfeit risks, major costs of some, and such) it just seems strange to me.
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