Dear Athletic Support: I have two kids, a daughter and a son. My daughter is in high school. My son is in junior high. Both of them are athletes and our calendars are already loaded to the brim with athletic events this summer.

Luckily, our state does have what they call “dead weeks.” Essentially, these are two weeks in the summer where the coaches can’t schedule any tournaments or practices. This is great in theory, but in the real world it just doesn’t work. Two weeks simply isn’t enough time for us to do all the things we want to do over the summer. To make matters worse, we always go on a big beach trip with my husband’s extended family. This year I’ve had quite the time trying to get all his parents (and brothers/sisters) to agree to fit our trip in that two-week window. It all just seems like too much. Why do we have to make high school (and junior high!) athletics into such a time commitment? I know everyone wants to win, but I don’t think it should come at such a cost. What, if any, repercussions would my kids face from their coach if we just decided to skip out on a few of these summer events? 

— Dead Weeks (Yeah, Right)

Dear Yawn: Honestly, it depends on the talent level of your kids. 

I’ve said this in previous columns, but it bears repeating here: if your kids are some of the better athletes on their respective teams — if they’re starters — then missing a few summer practices probably won’t matter one way or the other.

They’ll still be starters when you get back from the beach, and life will go on.

If they’re on the border, though, things might be different. Coaches do use attendance as a gauge when it comes to choosing one equally talented player over another in regard to playing time. 

With all that said, summer workouts/practices/tournaments are a great way to teach commitment. No, it’s not fun to spend your whole summer jostling back and forth between events, but your kids’ athletic careers won’t last forever either.

If you discuss any of this with your children, I’d urge you to keep that last thought front and center. You don’t want to send the wrong message and have them thinking they can skip out on practices and still be a good teammate. 

In the end, attendance is up to the parents/players, and playing time is up to the coaches. Good luck!

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. His debut novel, Don’t Know Tough, is available wherever books are sold. Send in questions for “Athletic Support” by using the “Contact” page at elicranor.com

 

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