A WWYD/WDYT situation...RE: High school sports and missing a game

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Posted 12/2/2012 by Just T in NSBR Board

Just T
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PeaNut 65,272
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Posted: 12/2/2012 8:56:14 PM
My sons are in Navy boot camp right now. One is scheduled to graduate on December 28, the other on January 4. We live near St. Louis, and boot camp is north of Chicago...a 7 hour drive from us.

My 17 year old daughter is on her high school's varsity basketball team. Her team is in a holiday tournament that runs from December 22-29, and so there is a good chance they will be playing at some point on December 28. My feeling is, even if she has a game that day, seeing her brother graduate from boot camp is worth missing it for.

I told my dd that she should talk to her coach now, tell her what is going on and that she will have to miss that day if there is a game. She however, is scared and doesn't want to tell her coach because apparently, the other day, the coach yelled at 2 other girls who are going to be on vacation in FL at that time. So now she thinks she has to be there, no matter what, and my husband agrees and says if they have a game, she will go to that and not the graduation. I just think that is wrong. Some things are just more important than sports, imo.

I normally do not intervene and talk to coaches, but in this situation, I really feel as if my daughter needs to be with our family at this important event, and if she won't talk to her, I think that my husband or I should. Obviously, we disagree about that too.

If you were in this situation, what would you do?


PeaNut 508,279
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Posted: 12/2/2012 9:00:41 PM
I'd be kind of torn. Imo, a grad ceremony like that is not the same as a vacation; it isn't something she could have arranged better. She did make a team commitment though. I would at least discuss it with the coach and get their feedback.

eta to fix my mistake

Sleeping with a Serial Killer

PeaNut 262,757
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Posted: 12/2/2012 9:01:30 PM
Seeing her brother graduate is not "going on vacation". It's possible the coach will be fine with it.
Also, a tournament does not impact the season's standings.

It sounds like your family needs to be on the same page first tho....

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PeaNut 24,951
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Posted: 12/2/2012 9:04:43 PM
How many times have I been in that situation with 3 kids in so many sports! Coaches are MEAN and their sport is THE most important. Once, my DD who is 15 was told it was either be there or lose her place on the team. The team, btw, was tennis and only the top 6 compete. She wasn't even competing and had zero chance of doing so (she was no 12).

You know the answer that family is first and tournaments over holidays are RIDICULOUS. They make me very cranky. This is not a game during her normal school time.

Sorry, I am all cranky for you. My answer is that she needs to say it and not you. Once she does, you can follow up, but she really needs to be the one to let the coach know. You're in a difficult position since your DH doesn't agree, but whatever the two of you (you and DH) decide, your DD has to follow through.

Sorry you're in this situation. They might not even play!


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PeaNut 122,458
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Posted: 12/2/2012 9:45:47 PM

You know the answer that family is first and tournaments over holidays are RIDICULOUS. They make me very cranky. This is not a game during her normal school time.

Someone scheduled a SCHOOL team tournament over the Christmas/Winter holidays? And the coach is mad?

Maybe the coach should have checked with his team before the (probably) ONE time of the year that everyone has family plans.

Even if it weren't your son's graduation, they are crazy to not expect conflicts from Dec 22 - Dec 29. Go to the graduation.

Squillen's Best Bud

PeaNut 297,159
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Posted: 12/2/2012 9:54:09 PM
I have always advocated for my kids when they were in school. I would go with her to speak to the coach, but let her do the talking. You can be there for support, and in the event things get ugly, you can intervene.
But like someone else said, the graduation is a completely different reason for missing the tournament than a vacation. Totally apples and oranges.
The coach will probably be fine with it.

FWIW, our school district does not schedule events during break. They will not pay overtime to personnel or ask them to forgo their days off either.
Our high school annual holiday basketball tournament is held the second week of December on a Friday and Saturday.

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PEAceful Pea

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Posted: 12/2/2012 9:54:50 PM
What kind of tournament is it? Jamboree like or championship like? What does your daughter want to do? I know you want her at graduation, does she feel her team commitment is more important?

I agree it's crazy to schedule a tournament over winter break...at our school any such tournament would be optional only. A "if you are in town and want to play" type of deal.



PeaNut 21,316
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Posted: 12/2/2012 10:10:57 PM
I think she needs to have a say in whether she goes to the game or the boot camp graduation. I understand how the ceremony is important to you and to your son, and I am sure that it is important to your daughter, too, but basketball, her relationship with her coach, and her commitment to her teammates is probably also important to her.

If it were a high school or a college graduation--the celebration at the end of four years--it would be a different matter, but this is a ceremony marking the completion of an eight-week program. I don't mean to sound harsh or diminish the accomplishment, but personally, I don't think she needs to be be there. I imagine the coach wouldn't go any easier on her than he has on the kids who have parents who have bought plane tickets for family vacations.

Yes, some things are more important than sports, but as someone who has planned family vacations around sports seasons, I don't know where I would rank a boot camp graduation with a basketball tournament. She is on the varsity team, and that comes with a different level of commitment and higher expectations. If she would rather stay behind in the event of a game, and your husband is fine with it, I think you need to let her. Have her make a card and some cookies for her brother, and call it good.

Right-Wing Extremist

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Posted: 12/2/2012 10:26:05 PM
Boot camp graduation is a once in a lifetime experience. She will not see her brother again for a while at least until after he finishes his advanaced training.

I am all for letting my high school kids handle things, but I'd be telling the coach this one. My daughter will be attending her brother's boot camp graduation. It ranks much higher than a high school game (says the mother of 2 high school athletes).

"This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave" Elmer Davis

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 12/2/2012 11:03:30 PM

I hated high school sports, and more so I hated the crazy coaches who expect your life to stop when you are playing "for them". It is all about them and their "record", blah, blah, blah.

Okay, got that off my chest.

I agree that you and DH need to be on same page and I also agree that your dd should have a say. What does your graduating ds have to say about it?

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 12/3/2012 1:55:18 AM
I would let my dd decide which she wanted to do - and go from there.

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PeaNut 43,061
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Posted: 12/3/2012 8:04:01 AM
I think this is a choice that the 17 year old needs to make for herself, not made for her.

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PeaNut 226,253
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Posted: 12/3/2012 8:07:43 AM
This not your family vacation, however the coach was out of line telling those other families that they can't go on vacation during a school break. Schools and coaches have no say over what families do on breaks and your dd has no commitment to the coach that is above commitment to family and her brothers graduation.

A school break is a break. The coach should not have planned to attend a tournament then. This graduation is a big deal and your dd should not skip it just because the coach has unreasonable expectations. Family comes first. This game is not during school and there is no guarantee that the team will play. The coach needs to step into reality.
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Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 479,777
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Posted: 12/3/2012 8:08:44 AM
Seventeen-year-olds are old enough to make their own decisions about things like this. I'm with the group that believes it isn't earth-shattering if she misses graduation from boot camp.

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PeaNut 297,141
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Posted: 12/3/2012 8:14:32 AM

I had almost this exact scenario last January when my Navy boy graduated from basic. His next youngest brother was on the high school basketball team and would miss two games if he went with us. We let him make the choice and he chose to stay home and play those games and not miss any practices.

In a perfect world, siblings would always be there for each other but that's not usually my world. With four boys, commitments often pull them in opposing directions. We take each situation as it comes and just deal with it.


PeaNut 23,080
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Posted: 12/3/2012 8:31:28 AM
To ME this is a no brainer. Family is forever, sports is here today gone tomorrow. There will always be another game, tournament, whatever. He only graduates once. Once.

It totally boggles my mind that people put such trival things as sports over family.

Boot camp graduation is a once in a lifetime experience. She will not see her brother again for a while at least until after he finishes his advanaced training.
ITA!! This is military. Really put that into perspective. He's going to fight wars in dangerous places.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 289,166
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Posted: 12/3/2012 8:47:10 AM
I would have your DD go to the graduation. I hate when those involved in activities have tunnel vision and think that anything other than that activity should take a back seat.

We recently missed a band tournament. We went on a family trip that was paid for by someone else and all 16 grandkids on DH's side went along with families.

Everyone was missing something, but it was an important event for his dad (president of National Association of Realtors). We could never have afforded this trip on our own and it truly was a once in a lifetime experience.

When the band president (a mom volunteer) found out, she let it be known that she wasn't happy about it. Said I wasn't a "team" player despite hours and hours of volunteer time and complete support of the program. I just thought to myself "whatever lady, I'm going." Sometimes life happens and you have to miss things once in awhile.

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PeaNut 114,407
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Posted: 12/3/2012 10:39:04 AM
We are a sport family. I understand commitment to the team.

My daughter would be speaking to her coach, advising them that she will be absent, and going to support her brothers in this major achievement.

Getting past being "scared" to talk to the coach (which is understandable) will serve her well. I would have her handle it alone. This really is good practice with dealing with professors, employers, etc. in the future.

Congratulations to your sons!!!


PeaNut 378,405
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Posted: 12/3/2012 12:38:18 PM
First of all, THANK YOU for your families sacrifice to our country!! Two boys enlisting at the same time, wow!!

I'm torn on this one. A lot of these tournaments that happen during the break (at least around here, anyway) are great opportunities for kids to be seen by colleges. The coach should have made this clear at tryouts, as these plans have to be made pretty far in advance. If your daughter is planning to play college ball, then I'd say she should play, if that's what she wants to do. Is her absence going to leave the team short and unable to play?

As far as the boot camp graduation, it is a beginning, not an end. As long as your sons will have someone there, I think it's ok for her to miss. We went to my step son's AF Basic graduation, and nothing sadder than the boys with no one there to "tap them out" at the end of the cermonies, (not sure what the Navy tradition is) If you and DH will be there, I think the boys would understand if she is not.


PeaNut 21,316
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Posted: 12/3/2012 1:32:47 PM

It totally boggles my mind that people put such trival things as sports over family.

It is more than "sports." It is a commitment to be a part of a team. It is relationships with friends and a relationship with the coach. Would you feel differently if she had a part in the school musical and had to make the decision whether or not to miss a performance? What if she were part of a quiz bowl team? I don't know what you value, what you see as non-trivial, but I don't think she should be made to feel guilty if she opts for fulfilling her own commitments and supporting her brother in another way.

There won't always be another game, another tournament, another whatever. The majority of kids don't play team sports after high school. What seems trivial to some may have significant meaning to others and not always for superficial reasons.

There may not be other boot camp graduations, but there will be send offs, coming homes, promotions ...

Bottom line, she should be the one deciding.

Running the Marathon, Not the Sprint

PeaNut 110,589
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Posted: 12/3/2012 1:39:28 PM
#1 - I'm in the camp that school events should not be scheduled when school is out for holiday of any sort.

#2 - Military boot camp graduation would take precedence over any sport game, especially if my DS or DD would then be deployed overseas after graduation. No question about it. Coach would have to suck it up.

This is high school sports. It is a small blip on the radar of life.


PeaNut 525,528
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Posted: 12/3/2012 10:11:56 PM
I agree with the peas who said that the team is important, too. At her age, I think DD should decide for herself which thing she wants to do. For me, it would have been seeing my brother, all the way. But we don't know how important the team is to her.

Whatever she decides, I think you and your husband should support her decision ...which means one of you has to deal with some disappointment.

I think that DD should tell the coach herself if she decides she wants to attend the ceremony. As other peas have pointed out, it is important for her to learn how to have awkward conversations with authority figures and come to an acceptable resolution.

And finally, ITA with this: "Even if it weren't your son's graduation, they are crazy to not expect conflicts from Dec 22 - Dec 29."

And I think it's well within reasonable for you to discuss that point with coach if DD gets to the point of informing and the conversation goes badly.
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