Raising a Teenager Who Plays Sports Has Taught Me This.


I’m a parent.Title IX.

I have a daughter who plays sports.

This has taught me many things.

Young ladies who play sports in 2014 are experiencing things that just weren’t there 10, 20, 50 years ago.

My kid and millions of others are so lucky to have these opportunities.

While Title IX isn’t perfect, I’m glad my daughter  was born after it was put in place instead of before.

Crazed parents can now obsess over their daughter’s future college athletic career instead of just being obessed with their son’s alleged college athletic career.

I call this progress.

Also, it’s interesting to watch people coach their own children.  In most cases this shouldn’t be allowed.

Of all the things our government sticks their nose into, you would think addressing parents living out their dreams through their children would be on top of the list.

Coaching your own children should be outlawed.  And immediately.

The amount of money spent on youth sports could probably also be better spent.

Like on curing diseases.  Uprgrading bridges,  Or maybe on math tutors.  Possibly getting third world countries internet.

But who am I to judge.

Even with all of these issues, I think the greatest thing I’ve learned about kids playing sports is without a doubt…

… It’s hard watching your child fail.

Success is SO much fun, but watching them fail is heartbreaking.

Necessary.

A fact of life.

The best thing a parent can do for their child.

But harder than you can ever imagine if you haven’t experienced it.

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I’m Here to Promote Failure.


Everyone wants their kid to do well.Failed.

I get it.

This is probably an instinct that goes all the way back to cavemen.  I can just imagine how proud the cave parents must have been when little cavekid, jr. came back from a hunt where he had captured the biggest rabbit.

So proud.

Parents live for their children’s successes.

Now, instead of rabbits, it’s games.  The more the better.

Travel this.  Club that.  All Stars.  Select teams.

The farther away a team is the better it must be.  Bonus points if your child plays out-of-state.

Double-bonus points if they play with older kids.

I think this is great, but we have forgotten half of the process.

Parents should also live for their child’s failures.

This may sound terrible, but it’s true.

Our children have to learn not to touch a hot stove.  Sometimes they learn this lesson best immediately after they touch a hot stove.

There are lessons to be learned in striking out, making an error, fumbling, hitting a ball out-of-bounds, and losing.

Failing has gotten a bad rap.

Our society wants to take it completely out of the equation.  We seem to have a need to protect our kids from the awful feeling of finishing second.

We might do this because we no longer have to protect our children from wild animals or any of the other unspeakable dangers cave people experienced.

We seem to believe if our kids always succeed, they will always succeed.

The truth is, if we want our children to be successful, they have to know how to fail and how to respond to failure.

Everyone is going to get knocked down sooner or later.  My fear is too many of today’s kids won’t know how to get up.

I continually see parents who are willing to do anything to make sure their child doesn’t fail.

They will spend any amount of money.  Put them on any team.  Drive them any distance.

Yell at any adult who doesn’t put their child on a pedestal and give them a trophy.

Make untold sacrifices just so their son or daughter can experience success.

And the truth is the best way for them to experience this elusive feeling of success is not more, it’s less.

Let them fail.  They will live.

Now, they won’t thank us for this.  In fact, as parents we may have to be the bad guy.

At least for awhile.

But one day, they will be happy their parents let them fail.

Just not today.

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Two Full-Time Jobs is Two Too Many.


For the last month or so, I have been largely absent from this blog (sure I’ve posted the occassional video that interested me or made me laugh until I nearly wet myself).It's a Delicate Balance.

I’ve gotten a few emails asking why.

Well, at my age you get to laughing really hard and before you know it you’ve accidently….

Oh, you were wondering why I haven’t blogged more.

My bad.

There are a couple of possible reasons.

One is I always promised myself when I ran out of things to say and I started to struggle with what to write, I would stop immediately and blow the blog up.

That day is not yet here.  But I hope it’s soon because I do enjoy an explosion.

The real reason I haven’t been around is I’ve been a bunch of other places.

School.  Home.  Game.  School.  Home.  Game.  School.  Home.  Game.

You’ll notice I didn’t mention sleep.

In the world of school administration, late July and early August are busy.

Really busy.

This has been compounded by the world of Teenage Evil Spawn (I miss carefree Little Girl Evil Spawn… although I was not a huge fan of Baby Evil Spawn).

Her world is busy.  Really busy.

When she was born, I don’t recall the doctor telling us how incredibly time-consuming and expensive her existence would become after the age of 10.

Actually, the only thing I remember the doctor saying is "Don’t worry, she won’t break."

So far, so good but there have been a couple of close calls where she cracked.

What I have learned as a parent is children require a lot of attention

Games, clubs, events, church, parties, school, 4-H, friends, sleepovers, movies, camps…. the list could go on and on.

Basically, my role in all this is to be there.  Or get her where she needs to be.

I’m like Secret Service without the ability to talk into my wrist.

My parent job isn’t brain surgery, but it does cut into my "Me" time (and it is all about me…).

All of this doesn’t sound too taxing, but it does eat up time like nobody’s business (actually it’s my business and it used to be my time).

This coupled with my day job as a school superintendent, has forced me to put the blog on the back burner this summer.

But like most years, summer is winding down so I’m sure my schedule will slow down.

I’m not sure what this says about our society when I know my schedule will be easier once my full-time job picks up again and I’m working 60 hour weeks.

But I sure am looking forward to it!

Have a good school year.

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The T-Shirt Every Youth Sports Parent Should Be Required to Wear.


I saw this today.Best Shirt Ever.  And Smartest.

And it made my summer.

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Youth Sports Spelled Backward is Stressful.


Or maybe it’s stropshtuoy.Stress Makes Me Old.  Older.

No matter how it’s spelled, it’s way more stressful than I ever imagined.

I coached for a long time.

Some people would say way too long (by some… I mean all).

As a school administrator, I’ve had to throw my share of over-zealous parents out of games for griping at the referees and coaches.

Or both (and honestly, if you’re about to be tossed out of a gymnasium in front of your peers you might as well yell at everyone).

My assumption was these people were insane.

Who gets so caught up in a child’s game that they have to be removed by a mild-manner kind-hearted person like me?

I was wrong.  We are all insane.

At least when it comes to watching our kids.

It’s in our genes (in my first draft I spelled this "jeans" which is actually funnier).

It’s easy to lose perspective when your child loses.  Or fails.  Or doesn’t get to play.

I’ve known for a long time that The Evil Spawn’s childhood would not go smoothly.

I anticipated visits from the local police.  Long chats with the District Attorney.

Neck tattoos.  Numerous piercings.  Fake IDs.  Boyfriends 35 years older than her.

I knew there would be late night car chases.  Liquor store robberies.  And various other crimes that I hoped would always be misdemeanors.

After all, what kind of father would I be if my only daughter was committing felonies?

What I didn’t count on was the pain and suffering of watching her grow up and being effected by the decisions of other adults (not in law enforcement).

Coaches.  Umpires.

Evil, evil people.

No one told me at the hospital when she was hatched, how challenging this time of her life could be.

I had no idea the pain and suffering one has to go through while sitting in a lawn chair watching her attempt to hit a softball (by the way… there is NO WAY that first pitch was a strike!!!).

Life is bound to get simplier when she is 16.  Or 17.  Or 18.

It will won’t it?

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Children Should Not Be Allowed to Do Homework in the Car.


I blog about what I know.

Maybe that’s why I don’t blog more often.

These days, the Evil Spawn is the center of our universe.

Not because she’s a good kid.  Or an only child (this only applies if you don’t count my son, Buddy the Dog).

Everything revolves around her because she’s involved in everything.

Basketball.  Softball.  Piano.  The drums.  4-H.  Church choir.

You name it and she wants to be a part of it (except cleaning her room… because I’ve named it… and she wants NO part of it).

She’s busy.

Which means we are busy.

I’m not sure who decided 10 year olds can’t drive, but they obviously didn’t have a 10 year old who needed to be transported to 8 different things on a Tuesday evening.

This new kind of life for children is an adjustment for me.

When I was a kid back in the late 70′s and early 80′s we weren’t nearly this busy.

We had time on our hands.

We rode our bikes.

We played in the woods.

We threw rocks in ponds.  And at street signs.  And at trains (don’t judge me).

We complained about being bored.

Now it’s all different.

There are practices.  And games.  And camps.  And uniforms to wash.  And overnight trips. 

Mostly, there isn’t time to sit around and watch the world pass by.

I don’t think this new world is all bad.

But it’s certainly different.

I can’t imagine what things will be like when The Evil One is a parent (scary, I know… but yes, she will one day give birth to the Evil Grandchild).

I can’t imagine kids will be busier than they are now, but what do I know (to review… I think we established I know little or nothing earlier in this blog).

I do think I have a solution.  A law.

A law that makes it illegal for children under the age of 16 to do homework in the car.

This wouldn’t solve all of the worlds problem, but it would certainly slow down youth sports.

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Why Exactly Do We Want Fans?


The Evil Spawn loves sports

I used to.

I don’t remember the exact date my relationship changed with athletics, but it was around the time I became a principal.

That’s when I started watching the crowd instead of the game.

No longer was I focusing on the players.

Now I got to spend hours and hours watching people scream. 

Scream at the game.  The referees.  The coaches.  The scorekeeper.  The players.  And on very special occasions when they just couldn’t take it anymore… each other.

I’ve never understood this.

If you ask parents (and grandparents), they will tell you they love their children’s games.  They look forward to them.

They plan their schedules so they can be there.  They make sacrifices to get their children to practices.  They commit their hard-earned money to shoes and equipment.

Yet, as I look up into the crowd I don’t see a lot of happiness and smiles.

I see anger, paranoia, nerves, and bitterness.

Why is this?

Why can’t people take athletics for what they are.

They are a moment in time.  They are life.

And just like life, they don’t always turn out the way you want.

Sports should be used as a teaching opportunity on how to deal with success.  And failure.

How to get along with others.  How to find your place in a situation bigger than yourself. 

How to lose (and just for the record… losing is okay).

Kids should grow up and only have wonderful memories from their time participating in athletics.

They shouldn’t leave the experience with a headache from all the screaming.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.