Sunday, May 27, 2012

Youth Sports: Family Separated on Holiday Weekend

When I was a kid, a holiday weekend meant a trip to the Jersey shore with the entire family. Soccer was a fall sport, basketball was a winter sport and baseball leagues would take a break for the long weekend.

Fast forward 35-40 years and soccer is a year round sport, basketball is a year round sport and baseball plays 70 games from March 15 to July 31 instead of 18 games. And of course none of the sports gives a rats ass about your family vacation plans.

This weekend I am in Dayton, Ohio with my daughter, CC, who is playing in an elite soccer tournament. My wife is with our son, Nic, in Cleveland, Ohio, 3 hours away. Nic is playing in a top regional baseball tournament.

Is this situation good or bad for the family? What do you think?

The Main Point

Personally, I do not mind going to a tournament on a holiday weekend. I actually enjoy them. I would much rather enjoy the long weekend with my entire family together, but these weekends do give my wife and I a chance to connect with our kids individually on a much deeper level.

Last night, my daughter and I went out to dinner at Franco's Italiano Restorante, a must stop when you are in Dayton. We both got two big bowls of pasta and talked about the two big wins the team had earlier in the day. The second win of the day against the best team in the state was especially fun to reminisce about. CC had a terrific two games in goal. She made four spectacular saves. She even had an assist on a long punt over the defense.

Give the Assist to the Goalie

Gave Saving Dive
Thanks to iphones, my wife and I traded updates and pictures. My son went 3 for 3 and threw a guy out at the plate from second base. I enjoyed the chats with my son as he recounted the highlights after the game too.

It is not ideal, but it will be a memorable weekend for my family even though we are not all together. Thanks to technology we can stay connected.


  1. Been there too. It's hard when sports separates the family. But I think as long as it is not all the time, you can make the most of it. Sounds like you did!

  2. Janis - How many times does a dad or mom get the undivided attention of a 14 year old son. Not often. These tournaments allow us to do that. I had a terrific time with my 11 year old daughter this weekend.

  3. Yesterday, I was talking to my son's club lacrosse coach explaining to him that we would not be able to make the last tournament because we were going away as a family to Utah for a few weeks. He proceeded to tell me that he thinks "kids these days" increasingly want to stay home and play in lacrosse tournaments as opposed to go to camps or to the beach on family vacations. I know that he was more than a little frustrated by parents who were unable to commit to all of his summer tournaments. I walked away wondering if I actually heard him correctly. My son is no slacker and loves to play lacrosse, but he will take a week at the beach or a family vacation any day over a lacrosse tournament. I am wondering if one can measure the long term benefits of what you are talking about here: What will your son and daughter remember? When the athletics are over--post college, perhaps, and they are not playing anymore, will they wonder why you split up as a family and went to athletic tournaments instead of taking a trip to the mountains and hiking and biking together? Two of my three children are in college and what is lingering in their minds is not the time spent on hot fields under team tents, but the time spent together on family vacations. It begs the question: To what end?

  4. I hear you Judy - My kids love the tournaments. It is like a weeklong sleepover with friends. And there is plenty of time for family - every year we will extend a sports tournament trip and add another family oriented stop. One a baseball trip to Disney - we stopped in Chattanooga, Tenn. We played some golf, saw Ruby Falls and walked through Rock City. The kids still talk about that stop. Luckily baseball has one tournament at a beach every year. My kids love sports - I think that they will remember this time in their loves fondly. BTW - there are plenty of parents who opt out of tournaments from time to time for family commitments. I think that is ok too. Thanks for adding to the conversation.




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