Could you cut us some slack here?

It’s been weeks trying to convince a certain 11 year old to sign up to try out for his school’s soccer team. He played for a rec team when he was 7, but after a weird experience with a coach who split the team into an A and a B team, (putting his own son on the A team of course) Carter lost interest pretty quickly. And that was that. Soccer was what his sister was good at. A new Middle school seemed like a good motivator. I knew I was perhaps pushing the issue, but I was convinced that if Carter could get into a sport, he would discover his natural athletic ability which would in turn boost his overall confidence. So yeah, I pushed a bit. Don’t roll your eyes when I also admit that the psychic told me that Arron thinks I should maybe push a Carter little harder. Playing soccer was mentioned several times in various sessions.

Getting Olivia into team sports had been easy and she has had mostly good experience, but Carter and I have not had a great track record when it comes to getting him involved in sports teams. Coach dad’s who put their kids first, overly aggressive teams who do nothing to make players feel included. Carter has yet to have a good sport experience and I can’t help wondering if it has to do with the fact that I’m not a dad. I am sure it has a lot to do with why I sort of stopped pushing him into team sports in the first place.

Which is why when I discovered on Wednesday that the tryouts began on Tuesday, I found the medical forms online, printed them out and sat for an hour in the doctor’s office so he could participate in the Thursday try-out, only to be told that his doctor was out of the office and the doctor that was available had never seen Carter and would not sign the form. Undeterred, I headed to the school to explain that I would hand deliver the form on Friday and to please let Carter try out today. We had spent over an hour the night before hunting through Olivia’s old soccer cleats and shin guards to get him properly equipped. There were a few teary panic sessions, as he worried about the medical form and the location and when I would be picking him up. I cajoled, coaxed, sweet talked and even considered bribing him to try out. I nearly gave up on the whole damned idea about seven different times.

After the doctor’s office fiasco, I drove to the school where I waited for the Athletic Coordinator/6th grade Administrator for half an hour, finally asking the three TA’s who were waiting for her as well if she was always late. They said she usually was. I felt sorry for them having to kill an entire period every day waiting for an administrator  that showed up late every day. Is this what we pay our taxes for, so our kids can go to school to sit unsupervised in a hallway for an hour each day waiting for this woman to show up? I gave up waiting for her but got a call from her a little while later, after I had gotten home. She told me Carter could not try out without the form. I expressed my worry about Carter missing two of the three try-out days, but she didn’t seem to care. She suggested that if he had played before it shouldn’t be a problem. I explained that he hadn’t played since he was seven and she sort of made a little noise. He’ll be trying out with boys who have played a lot, she warned. She suggested he try out for Track in April or maybe it was May. I had stopped listening by then. I didn’t quite hang up on her, but it was close. I had to call the school secretary back after I calmed down to get a message to him to take the bus home and not go to the tryout.The very thing he was most anxious about had come true.

I get that there are rules, schools need to cover their asses, but seriously? Was it really too much for me to ask that they make an exception and let me get the damned form in one day late? We are now back to square zero again in terms of confidence. It took so much to get him calmed down about the try-out that I doubt he will agree to go to the last day of try-outs after having missed the first two. He has no interest in track, though I will no doubt try and champion that cause too. I wish the kid could just catch a break for once, though maybe its really me who needs the break.

7 Comments

  1. Abigail - Site Author March 4, 2011 at 11:42 am

    A note to teachers:

    It was my intention that no teachers be harmed in the production of this post. I have the utmost respect and undying admiration for anyone who can do that job and not wind up in a nut house.

    My issue was simply with the unbending adherence to rules by an administrator, something I have run into at the school on at least one other occasion.

    I also thought it was sad state of affairs that those kids had to waste an entire period waiting for an administrator who was consistently late.

    The fact that she couldn’t allow a one day break for the stupid form just clinched it. Not to mention that one of the the reasons that Carter didn’t sign up for soccer in the first place is because he is scared of this woman and won’t step foot in her office. I’m afraid its been a series of incidents at the school that have me frustrated, all having to do with administrators.

    I am extremely grateful that my experience with each of Carter’s teachers has been nothing short of stellar.

  2. dampdynamite March 4, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I feel your pain. There is nothing worse than having to deal with uncaring school teachers. It seems like they out number the really good ones who have a real gift when it comes to teaching and caring about children who aren’t their own, but they treat them like they are. A sport that is a real confidence booster is tai quon do(I am not sure of the spelling!) My sons loved it, and it was so good for them! You should check out some classes in your area. Tennis lessons is another sport my sons loved when they were your sons age. They always went for the individual type sport instead of team sports. Those sports suited them better and they really excelled. Also, guitar lessons are good. All chicks love a guitar player! Just some thoughts for you that worked for me and my sons. You are doing a great job! Just take deep breaths. This is such and adventure, raising sons on our own.

    1. Abigail - Site Author March 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      Yes, I have considered the Tai Kwon Do (sp??) option and maybe I should go down that path again. Tennis would be cool too, but he says he’s not interested. He did get into something called drum line after school, which he is really enjoying, but he really needs to use his body, which is what I am focused on at the moment. Thanks for the great ideas!

  3. annie March 4, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    so unprofessional, I seethe when I read about my fellow educators on power trips. I can’t count the number of times kids practiced without medical forms. Actually, they are pretty worthless and often I ended up just getting the school nurse to dig out the most recent physical on file in her office and using that. In Iowa they were good for just over a year and pretty multipurpose.

    For future reference, go over their heads. Anytime school personnel gives attitude -find their next level superior and do your best imitation of the squeakiest wheel you ever have heard. Mountains have been moved this way.

    This may be a sign that Carter is destined for some other activity though, can’t discount that.

    Are outdoor city leagues? Just house ones that play for fun? It’s that time of year of sign up.

    Middle school is such a tough age for kids who are sensitive and unsure. It can take a while for them to settle, take root and bloom. All you can do is keep offering him opportunities and options, eventually something will catch his fancy. Pushing could mean just being annoying persistent with suggestions maybe.

    He won’t be 11 forever. Chin up.

  4. Kim March 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    I am so with you here Abby! Middle school is difficult enough with 2 parents, but for our fatherless kids, please give us and them every possible break! We need it. My son is also 11 and it’s rough in every way I believe. So glad you posted this topic. This is a fragile time in their lives and the teachers who care have a huge impact–probably more than they realize. Sadly it works the other way. We are all out here treading water most days with little or no support. I can’t understand that mindset and wishing you the best with Carter and soccer. I go through some similar pain with swimming. Not sure what the answer is. Again, glad you posted the topic.

  5. Tiffany March 6, 2011 at 9:36 am

    I feel for you and carter both, abby. It is so frustrating to deal w/those (in any profession) who can’t sidestep a small obstacle for the sake of a kiddo. I have a feeling that maybe Carter is going to find his calling in another sport and things will simply fall into place at that time. Until then, I do wish he could catch a break! and you, too.

  6. Cary March 28, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    I just typed a novel of a comment and then went to open another tab and in a moment all my text was gone! (insert string of expletives here)

    Ok here goes AGAIN.

    As a boy I was cursed with a step father that had no desire to teach me how to play or learn any sport. As a result I was terrible at just about everything.

    Somehow, I still tried to play. Not sure if it was my mother or friends that coerced me into this continued humiliation but suffice it to say it did nothing for my self esteem. Lucky my parents moved every couple years so that I was able to leave the laughing teasing school children behind to start the whole thing over again at a new school. It was like the movie Groundhog Day for kids. Same nightmare, different locale.

    I eventually stopped playing ball related sports and focused (FYI, if you spell focused wrong, Apple decides you meant cicadas)on things I was good at, like riding bikes and motorcycles and catching lizards. What can I say, I grew up in Las Vegas, all I had was desert.

    I guess what I am saying is that Carter may find something he likes to do and maybe he won’t. If you are able to nudge him into a sport, make sure it isn’t having the opposite effect you are hoping for. I really like the martial arts idea. It’s good for self esteem and you aren’t directly competing against other kids, or at least I don’t think you have to.

    My son (26 and just like me) dislikes balled sports but loves nature and hikes almost every week. A weeks ago, he and I stopped at Dicks for a hamburger. It was wicked cold that day. He nonchalantly without saying a word ordered an extra coffee and walked a half a block up the street and gave it to a very cold looking homeless man.
    I will forgo him being good at baseball, as long as he keeps doing that.

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