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Pay to Play: Pinching Parents and Players

Over the winter months of 2011, there were news reports of budget battles across the county: Indiana, Ohio, Florida, and most notably, Wisconsin.  These budget woes carried many abstract worries about balanced budgets, corporate tax subsidies, collective bargaining, and varieties of public works projects.  In most all of these states, public education was a central issue.

Over the winter months of 2011, there were news reports of budget battles across the county: Indiana, Ohio, Florida, and most notably,Wisconsin. In most all of these states, public education was a central issue. The solution many states have attempted to implement is a
scheme called, “pay to play.” 


We don't have a large house. My son's room, though he is increasingly getting bigger, is not expanding.  We feed him, he grows. I wish we could feed his room something to make it grow, too.

His closet space is limited as well. One result is the overflow of shoes. While there are a few shoes in his closet, skate board shoes, wrestling shoes, once and awhile his snow boots get put away.  Here's what his floor looks like. Collection of athletic shoes on the floor of a kid's bedroom

A New Parental Reality: Hoping to Cope

I am about to embark on new territory. I have never been in this position before.  I realize now, just how privileged I have been for a long time.  But with the down turn in the economy, that position of privilege has gone. 

Specifically, I have never missed my kid’s performances.  They might be in a play, a dance, a track meet, or a multitude of other athletic events.   Now, I
am missing them.  Work has forced me to leave the comforts of my virtual office, conveniently planned travel, and flexible scheduling.  When my son’s basketball schedule came out, I discovered that there was not one game that I could attend.  The thought of missing a whole season of his work hurts.

Where Did All the Parents Go?

For many years, through flag football to tackle, from t-ball to the 90 foot  "big field", we've always hung around our son's games, and even the practices. For us, it has been a time to socialize with parents in similar pursuits. We often get to volunteer as a team-parent, or as a coach. And over the years, we have come to think of these other families as a part of our extended family: a sports family.

Building Momentum or Snowballing?

Our youngest child is an athlete. I suppose I need to come to terms with that. Whatever sport he gets a hint of, he wants to try. Although, if you ask him, he’s a baseball player and football player. More specifically, he’s a pitcher and an outfielder, a tight-end and a defensive end or tackle. He knows his place and position in those sports.

Jack a Single

Do what you can and trust your team. We learned that last week.

Boy we had a blast at out baseball tournament last week. Our boys showed a lot of determination, integrity, and ingenuity. They even trusted their coaches.

On our first day of the tournament, we lost two games. One was close, the other we got mercy-ruled. On the next day of pool play we won both games. Decisively! Going into bracket play then we had a 2-2 record, but with 25 runs scored in the previous day's play, we got a second seed.

On My Summer Vacation

I remember as a kid going back to school and answering this basic question: What did you do on your summer vacation?


Every year our city baseball league creates teams for the elite players. We have the 10 year old all-stars, the 11s, and this year for the 12s, we have two teams. For the 12 year old players, one team runs a 70 foot baseline from home to first. This team is the "A" team for all practical purposes. Then there the other team, the "B" team runs a 60 foot baseline.

Conundrum: Student Athlete or Athletic Student?

Perhaps the finest conundrum of circular arguments is the classic chicken and egg argument. You know, "which came first, the chicken, or the egg?" Two days ago, my 12 year old son had finally wrapped his mind around that and was able to do the abstract mental gymnastics to figure out the possible loop-holes and off-beat arguments for going either way on that classic question. But after last night's parent-teacher conferences at the middle-school, there's another conundrum we had to talk about: "Which comes first, being a student, or, being an athlete?"To our dismay, we found out that in the past few weeks, academics have been slipping and certain classroom behaviors have been on the rise.

The Draft

Last weekend we woke to a cold crisp Saturday morning. Fortunately there was no wind. But at 25 degrees, it was plenty cold. This was the day for Meridian Youth Baseball Assessments. The thought of going through a baseball combine at that temperature didn't seem to phase the kids, they had adrenalin to keep them warm. We parents on the other hand, we were a bit chilly. And of course, nothing runs according to plan, so we waited in the cold for about an hour longer than we were prepared for. But it was only adults, like me, whining about the weather.

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