Ordinarily, there’s no question: school trumps sports, whether it’s college or earlier in my son’s academic career. He’s in sixth grade, so we’ve got a while to go before we have to worry about NCAA regulations.
Which is why it’s so darn frustrating that we find ourselves in the scheduling remake of When Worlds Collide: the collision of the last basketball game and the evening performance of my son’s school play.
The game is the last one of their season and was scheduled to be 5-6pm, with the play starting at 7pm at school, about a 20 minute drive from the gym. The coach recognized the problem — as every single boy in my son’s class is also on the basketball team — so he managed to have the game switch to start at 4pm, meaning that they’re done at 5pm and don’t have to step into the play until 7pm.
For her part, the class teacher has no sympathy and no interest in the game and made it very clear to us parents that the play will be at its standard time, no later starts, no reschedule. The boy should all skip the game so that they’re not too tired for the play, whether it starts at 5pm or 4pm. The play is more important.
On the surface, the solution is obvious: skip the game, send the clear message that school is always more important than sports. Except then there’s that commitment thing. By joining a basketball league I believe my son made a commitment to both his teammates and the league that he’d do his very best to attend every practice and play every game with enthusiasm.
So what’s a Dad to do? My druthers is to have him play in the game from 4-5pm on the day of the tournament, then take him to get the best, healthiest dinner possible, followed by taking him to school where he preps and performs in the play. I think he’ll rise to the occasion and do fine. And if not, well, then I’ll perhaps find myself in the position of explaining why commitment to a team is also important as a lesson to model.
What would you do, fellow parent and reader?