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Old 05-14-2015, 09:23 AM   #11
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This is one of my soapboxes and I could spend all day talking about it. Sports in particular seem to have transitioned from an enjoyable pastime for youth into a very demanding and WAY too serious event. My kids aren't that age yet- oldest is 6- but I can promise you that I will never give a coach the authority to rule my family's lives year round for a GAME. Even the holidays are now chock full of tournaments. Really? You wanna schedule a tournament over Thanksgiving holiday? And one over Christmas break? Family time is so much more important than a GAME that I can't even come up with the words to do it justice. And seeing a commitment through is fine- but have you never left a job? Life- and especially childhood- is too short for me to force my kids to continue a sport if they are miserable. I quit my baseball team when I was around 12 and spent the rest of the Summer fishing and camping with my Papaw. Best thing I ever did. He passed away a few years later, but his health had declined for a while, and I absolutely cherish that time we had together. With that being said- I recommend you just be upfront about your expectations about family time to both your kids AND the people trying to schedule your kid's time. If they have a problem with you saying to them that you will be gone for family vacations on a set of dates they probably don't have your family's best interests in mind. Remember, you are the Dad and it is ultimately YOUR responsibility to make sure your family has a strong bond. Don't take that too lightly.
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:26 AM   #12
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And I'll add this; the importance of sitting down as a family almost DAILY and having supper around the table (with no TV!) has been shown to be instrumental in raising healthy, happy kids that make good choices. They need that time to bond with the family. This gets sacrificed at the alter of friends and sports a LOT, I've noticed.

Edit: Forgot to add this- PUT DOWN THE FREAKING PHONES AND TALK TO EACH OTHER!!!!! Sorry for yelling, but holy crap, can people really not spend an hour sitting with their family visiting any more without burying their faces in a stinking PHONE!!!!!! Rant over. For now.
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:45 AM   #13
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I will address this not only from the parent perspective, but also the coach / league official perspective since I happen to be both:

Parent perspective:
Go camping. The kid can miss a game. One person doesn't make a team. No one is scouting Little League and they're not being paid to play. Family time is more important.

My youngest is a very good baseball player and lives for the sport. He's missed 3 games this season because of camping or family obligations - he had a great time anyway. He wasn't punished by his coach, frowned upon by his teammates, and the team survived without him.

Coach / League Official perspective:
Go camping. Life is short. Life DOES NOT revolve around baseball (or football, or soccer, or lacrosse, or any other sport). Tell me ahead of time when you're not going to be there so I can plan accordingly, tell me where you're going, I may be able to give you pointers or tips as I am a camper too. Tell me how your trip was when you get back, maybe I'd like to check that place out.

As long as you're providing notice, so that we can plan, and aren't caught off guard trying to figure out where the kid is that we expected to pitch today - then it's all good.
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:51 AM   #14
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Some of my fondest and most recalled memories as a child are my camping trips with my family. We had a trailer, but most places we went had not hookups so we spent time outside and enjoyed each other and nature. Take the kids with you and select a campground that has no cell or internet service. it is good for them to be disconnected.
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdangel0 View Post
I will address this not only from the parent perspective, but also the coach / league official perspective since I happen to be both:

Parent perspective:
Go camping. The kid can miss a game. One person doesn't make a team. No one is scouting Little League and they're not being paid to play. Family time is more important.

My youngest is a very good baseball player and lives for the sport. He's missed 3 games this season because of camping or family obligations - he had a great time anyway. He wasn't punished by his coach, frowned upon by his teammates, and the team survived without him.

Coach / League Official perspective:
Go camping. Life is short. Life DOES NOT revolve around baseball (or football, or soccer, or lacrosse, or any other sport). Tell me ahead of time when you're not going to be there so I can plan accordingly, tell me where you're going, I may be able to give you pointers or tips as I am a camper too. Tell me how your trip was when you get back, maybe I'd like to check that place out.

As long as you're providing notice, so that we can plan, and aren't caught off guard trying to figure out where the kid is that we expected to pitch today - then it's all good.
for being the kind of coach that you are!!! Unfortunately, this is NOT the typical viewpoint, at least in my area. Maybe little league. But high school sports, you are EXPECTED to make EVERY practice and EVERY game- basically you sign up for a sport and the coach thinks he/she owns your life until season is over. In my area baseball and softball seem to reign supreme and they actually go pretty much year round. We've had friends that had kids involved in softball and they pretty much stopped camping because every single weekend for months on end had multiple games scheduled. I have several friends that are coaches, so I hear that side as well. Your team is counting on you. You're part of a team. You made a commitment. My view is that you are part of a team- your family- long before you are part of any other team and you have a commitment to them that trumps anything else. Family was there before that sports team assembled and will be there long after it's gone. One thing that was always really sad was that these families that we know would often have only 1 child playing a sport and then 2 or 3 others that were missing out on things like camping because they were being drug around to games all the time. Often the kids involved in the sports enjoyed it and that's what they wanted to be doing- but no regard was given to the fact that the sports schedule was dictating the lives of everyone else that wasn't on the team.

Edit: Most coaches I've known actually punish a child for missing a practice or game by not letting them start, making them run extra, etc. I've seen this happen not only for kids missing for a family function but also for things like church camp.
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Old 05-14-2015, 10:06 AM   #16
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Our 8 year old son plays football at the Y every spring and fall…during these times we only camp close to home. He has a commitment to his team and we're teaching him to honor those commitments. This is just our personal perspective on the subject.
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Old 05-14-2015, 10:11 AM   #17
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My parents had a permanent site at a campground in Wisconsin from the time I was born up until I was around 8 or 9. It was about a 45 minute drive and we would go up there every weekend.

The costs kept going up every year and they eventually decided they couldn't afford it anymore. Plus I was getting more into sports so they pulled the camper home and it sat in the backyard until they eventually sold it to someone that wanted it for a trailer race at the local speedway.

I have a lot of great memories from the campground but I also have a lot of great memories of playing sports as well. I made a lot of friends in both places and wouldn't change anything.

Even though we didn't "camp" anymore we still took a lot of weekend trips to different places. Plus my grandparents still had a site at the campground so I stayed with them a few times as well.

When my wife and I got married we got a tent as a wedding present. So we started the whole process over with our kids. Now we are permanent at a CG that's only 30 minutes away. Our youngest is the only one into sports but 99% of it is during the week. Only opening day is on a Saturday and we are close enough to drive home and still go back to the camper later in the day.
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Old 05-14-2015, 10:13 AM   #18
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Edit: Most coaches I've known actually punish a child for missing a practice or game by not letting them start, making them run extra, etc. I've seen this happen not only for kids missing for a family function but also for things like church camp.
I've heard of this before but would never let my child play for a coach that does this. As long as they are under 18 they do what I say. If I say they have to miss a practice or a game for whatever reason, they shouldn't be punished since they have no control over it.
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Old 05-14-2015, 10:18 AM   #19
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I've heard of this before but would never let my child play for a coach that does this. As long as they are under 18 they do what I say. If I say they have to miss a practice or a game for whatever reason, they shouldn't be punished since they have no control over it.
That's my feeling, too. But it is very common. If you miss a game or practice you are considered to owe a "debt" to the team that must be worked off. I'm sure most of them would make allowances for something like a wedding or funeral. But camping with the family- or any other family activity for fun- wouldn't be on that short list of acceptable reasons to miss.
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Old 05-14-2015, 10:39 AM   #20
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It's a double edge sword! I grew up camping and played high school sports! When it's little league stuff 13 and under who cares, go camping! How ever, when it comes to high school, it is important that the kid honors their commitment to the team! I grew up at a 6 man school meaning that every kid is as important as the next! A coach will be understanding to an extent about family obligations (if given the proper notice and typically informed by the parent), but pull that card too many times and the coach will eventually bench the kid or kick them off the team. A kid really needs to understand the importance of everything they are involved in, and that taking on too many commitments is just too taxing on the family and the kid. Make sure when your kid is getting ready to sign up for sports to explain to them that they need to leave room for the family!

Once your kid/ kids are in sports:
As a family you really need to just sit down and look at everyone's schedules and pick your weekends for family trips. Even in high school sports there is typically a 2 week period where there will be no games. Coaches will try to push extra practices these weeks or do scrimmages, but UIL (atleast in Texas) did this for this very reason! Try to use these weekends as your family time.

Family time is probably one of the most important things in a kids life, but sports probably takes a close second! I still to this day remember a speech my coach gave us, he called a practice on New Years day at like 9:00 P.M. and when we got there all the lights were out and the only thing on was the score board and it said 8-0. After his speech and a lot of hard work we went 8-0 in district and went on to 4 rounds of play offs 3 games away from state! I'll never forget that night. Just like I'll never forget spending time with my family camping during those years as well!
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