The RailCity Tournament Parenting Lesson

Arrggggh, how I anguished over pulling my kid from school for a hockey game. What WAS that about?  I talked myself blue and I ran scenarios through my head for so long I almost forgot what the big deal was. I talked to the head coach. I talked to the assistant coach. I talked to the girls overall scheduler, who is also a school principal. I talked to my friends.  I talked and talked and talked and talked to my dear dear husband, who probably wondered what it was all about by the end, too.

Alas, I figured it out.  The angst was about taking ownership of the decision. I didn’t like being informed by email that despite the scheduler’s attempt to keep the girls in school he was successful only for the 14-year olds and that the 12-year old teams would have a game at lunchtime on a school day. I hated it. It rubbed me all the wrong ways.  I wanted to be the one who decided if she missed school and for what reason.

I live in a sports town. Maybe most of America does. But this is a really small town and sports reign large. Even the local weekly newspaper, the Essex Reporter, devotes an entire section to this town’s sports.  It feels like as a parent I am expected to just go with the majority action — play travel hockey, take your kid from school, sports rule — forget the rest. It just feels that way.

Further, I am the only parent on the team who’s daughter is the oldest/first child in the family. And all but one of the team-mates have an older sibling who also plays or played hockey. So all those other parents, potentially, have already rolled-over for the sports machine and already just go with it.  I truly felt alone in this.

So anyway, I was feeling like taking a 9-year old from school to play a game up in hockeyville was a bit over-the-top. I want my athletic daughter to understand that school is most important. Sports are extra.

And that was it. I decided to approach her teacher about helping me teach this concept to Olivia. He was ALL over it. My gosh, I love her teacher. Turns out, he was a student athlete and he said his parents did the same thing. So he agreed to give Olivia some “make-up” assignments to do over the weekend in lieu of the time missed at school.  And he added that he saw how sports were a motivator for my daughter and hockey in particular was her passion — that there’d be value in supporting her this way.

God bless my little “O”, because when I told her what I had decided, she smiled.  The morning of her game I took her to school with a note for the teacher about leaving early and she said “And I’ll ask Mr. G for extra homework”.

And after the game, she came right up to me, looked me in the eye and said, “Thanks Mom. Thanks for letting me play this game.”

And so the angst. The decision-making process. It was all worth it.

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