Carlitos has soccer practice at 6 pm on Fridays. Right off the bat, it seems like kind of an odd time to have soccer practice -especially for a 4-year-old – but his dad did this registration all on his own and I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume it was done so that he can still catch some of the practice after work. I also don’t want to discourage his initiative and involvement. Good dads are a good thing.
In any event, last week we were driving to Cape Cod right after practice. As some of you can probably imagine, that meant I had to get two little boys and ALL of our stuff ready for the trip by myself before practice.
I took down two bags of trash and one bag of recycling. Did all of the dishes (You do not want to come home to a sink full of funky dishes after a weekend away!), cleaned the floors, packed our bags and got the boys dressed (with pajamas ready in my purse to put on them before the drive, of course).
Then, I had to carry down all of our bags…plus a huge bag of dirty laundry. (Thanks for the washer/dryer usage, mom and dad!)
Oh, and the boys.
I may have underestimated how much time all of this would take. I am not perfect. Nowhere close, really. But any parent who has had to get everything ready for a trip, without the help of another adult, knows it is no small feat.
Needless to say, we were 15 minutes late to soccer practice. I heard Carlitos apologize to the coach as he ran onto the field and she told him not to worry and patted his little, bouncing head.
Apparently, several other kids were late that day, too. I originally figured this out when the coach walked near the sidelines during a water break and loudly complained (to nobody in particular?) “C’mon, man! It’s 6:40! Practice is almost over! Why would you bring your kid now?! It’s disruptive!”
After practice, as we walked toward our car, I stopped to say thank you to her. She immediately launched into a tirade about how we really can not be late because it distracts her. I tried to explain that it was an unusual circumstance and that it wouldn’t happen again, but she didn’t really want to hear any of it.
I had a flashback to second grade and being scolded and told to go outside and clean the erasers on the brick wall during recess.
Well, this Friday my husband called me to tell me that he received a text from the coach reminding us to be on time today. She said anyone who arrives after 6:10 won’t be allowed to participate. It seems like it was a mass text sent to all of us (or maybe just those of us who were late last week?), but it is still pretty uncomfortable.
Now, mind you, this group is made up of 2, 3 and 4-year-olds. It should also be noted, that this is no traveling soccer team made up of the best in the state.
It is a group of little, little kids going to soccer practice for the first time. The practice involves things like Duck Duck Goose, pick the cone up with your foot… and about 5 water breaks per hour. There are tears, cartwheels and grass-picking going on at any given moment.
They aren’t being groomed for the World Cup.
I should also note that I get it. We are responsible. The parents need to make sure to get our kids to events or programs we signed them up for. And get them there on time. It is 100% on us as parents.
But as all parents know, sometimes things happen. We all have younger babies (who have inopportune poop explosions, for example) or older siblings (who need to be picked up from their after school activity). Or we have work, ourselves, that we rush out of in order to be an active participant in our kids’ adventures and experiences.
We are all trying here. Coaches and parents alike.
So, I am curious what your thoughts are. Is it right to punish the kids and not let them participate if the parents show up more than 10 minutes late? Is she running a 3 and 4-year-old soccer program too much like a high school varsity team? Or does she have every right and reason to be this strict about tardiness after last week’s events?