Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Grinch stole Christmas. A coach took Thanksgiving.

This week I was told to expect about 12 people for Thanksgiving dinner -- us, my mom, the in-laws, her siblings and their close friends of the family, nearly all coming from around Naples. No problem, I said, as I made arrangements for a large gathering, including getting a fold-out table, cleaning the porch, stocking up on stuff to set those places, yada yada yada.

I find out this morning that we're going to have 4 fewer. Our good friend's daughter made her under-15 club volleyball team in Naples ... and the overzealous coach wants to have a practice on Friday. At 9 a.m. I don't think there's a tournament this week. So her, her parents and sister are changing plans and staying home. (I was looking forward to chatting her up about volleyball anyway!)

I understand the niche and purpose of travel sports teams in high school. It's the best (and often only) way of matching up the best of the best, and college coaches catch on and often attend the bigger showcases. Often, the only way to get a scholarship is to wrangle (and pay) your way onto one of these teams, and give up a lot of your down time to practicing and playing.

But the need to force kids to choose between total commitment over family at the holidays is a crock. Most people travel over Thanksgiving break. The kids in my area are off school the entire week. These club coaches know it. What do their own families think of it?

I'll have more on Friday about some of the weekend's big games, news and some info about another blog that shares my name. Until then, Happy Thanksgiving, and may you share in a bountiful harvest much like mine -- 8 people trying to put away 30 pounds of ham and turkey, after eating the other accouterments filling my fridge. Meaning that you're all invited over later in the weekend for leftovers. We'll probably still be eating them at the New Year's party.

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