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To Play or Not to Play?

I listened at the parent meeting as the lacrosse coach spoke about the upcoming season. None of the information was new to me, as this would be my son's third year on the team. The Athletic Director spoke about the athletic code and the zero tolerance policy for drugs or alcohol, as well as the necessity of maintaining good grades. The mom in charge of fundraising talked about the gas card raffle and the tag sale she was hoping we would all help with. The coach talked about the importance of not missing any practice.

Toward the end of the meeting, the coach handed out the game schedule. The meeting was just about to end, when the coach said one last remark: “By the way, there will be two practices on Sundays this year. They will be on Sunday afternoon. One of them happens to be Mother's Day.”

Immediately, I felt myself getting angry. “They've got to be kidding!” I thought to myself. I totally disagree with having practice on Sunday in the first place, never mind on Mother's Day.

Although I knew my son would not appreciate me doing it, I went up to the coach after the meeting and told him my opinion. I told him that family comes first, and that to have a practice on Mother's Day is totally wrong. Coach was not sympathetic. His answer was “I don't control the game schedule.” I told him that I understand that, and then said, “You do control the practice schedule.” He did not have an answer for that. I was polite and respectful, but got my point across as my son stood next to me and rolled his eyes.

This is not the first time that sports schedules have been a conflict for our family life. When my daughter was on the softball team her freshman year, there was a practice held on Good Friday. We did not allow her to attend. The school's policy was that if an athlete missed a practice, he or she would be benched the next game. Sure enough, my daughter was benched, and, as disappointing as that was to her, I was proud that she supported our beliefs. I ended up writing a letter to the school committee and now the school no longer holds practices on Good Friday.

Families are so busy these days. It really is challenging to coordinate everyone's schedule and get everyone where they need to be. The older the kids get, the more involved they are in extra-curricular activities, which is a great thing and which I support whole-heartedly, but, nevertheless, it is exhausting.
Sunday should be the one day where things slow down. It should be a day of rest and a day spent with family, recharging batteries for the frenzy that will start the next day. 

Holidays should be spent with families, celebrating each other and the meaning of the day. Family time together is precious. Who knows how long we will have each other?

Will I let my son attend the practice on Mother's Day? Yes, I will. I don't want him to suffer and not play in the game the next day, as it means so much to me. Do I like the fact that our day will be disrupted? No, I do not. But, we can go to church as a family, then go out to breakfast, come home and relax, and then my son, who is now seventeen, can drive himself to practice. As mothers all know, we sacrifice all the time for our kids. I know that being on a team is a good way to keep kids out of trouble. I also know that spending time as a family keeps kids out of trouble as well. I wish our society would slow down and encourage down time spent with loved ones. I know I am not alone, and I hope that others who feel like I do would speak up.

I will enjoy my Mother's Day and I will enjoy watching my son play in his game the next day. Happy Mother's Day to all!

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