Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Emergency Bowling Banquets

Jeff Fiedler, the former director of The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps used to say, "There are no emergency bowling banquets." His basic point was that most things in life are scheduled way in advance, and part of growing up is learning to pay attention to when things are scheduled and then prioritize where you will be and when. Put another way, "A lack of preparation/attention on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

I'm blogging today to express my frustration with a certain volleyball coach who, this past Sunday, put one of my youth in the uncomfortable position of having to choose between an "emergency" last minute volleyball practice and the first youth group meeting of the school year. "When did the coach schedule the practice?" you might ask. I would answer, "Thursday afternoon." Yes, this coach added a practice three days ahead of time, and the entire team was expected to drop any other previously scheduled events (youth group kickoff was scheduled in June, btw) and attend said practice under threat of sitting the bench all week if they missed it. My wonderfully committed and dedicated middle school youth attended youth group on Sunday night, and thus, at yesterday's game, on her father's birthday, sat the bench.

This past summer, another youth was notified of summer drum camp two weeks ahead of time, making him miss out on a mission trip that he had signed for three months ahead of time.

This is a trend that seriously bothers me. Hear me say that I understand the need to be committed to one's sport or musical/dramatic/whatever I left out activity and should plan to be at all scheduled rehearsals, practices, games, performances, or whatever. I was in band through high school and college and didn't miss rehearsal. I was also on the golf team and attended practice and matches dutifully. I am not calling into question the need for practice and dedication. What I take issue with is coaches or directors treating their activity as if it's the only important thing in their students' lives. Young people these days have crazy busy schedules, and many of them do a great job balancing all of their commitments. Why make their lives more difficult by calling "emergency" last minute anythings? What if I called the volleyball coach two days before a scheduled game and said the following? "We've had to schedule an emergency last minute youth group to make sure the youth are ready for Sunday worship. If Suzie Q misses that meeting, she'll have to sit and face the corner and be unable to participate in worship. I'm sure you understand."

Shame on you coach whatever-your-name-is. If you can't get enough accomplished during your scheduled time, I suggest you re-evaluate how you're using your time. Don't put young people in the awkward and stressful position of having the choose between things that are important to them because you don't have your act together.


vicki said...

You. Are. Awesome. There's a certain volleyball player who is feeling the love. :)

Anonymous said...

we had numerous parents/youth run into this problem with the fall retreat this weekend and had to cancel because of sports practices/meetings. sad that they are forced to choose last minute.

Alan said...

Amen brother.