One of my poker buddies announced that he and his wife are expecting their first child sometime in November. As I contributed to his future babies’ college education, we offered tidbits/advice of good parenting. Make sure you have a great OB and have a birth plan. Make sure you read to your kid everyday. Make sure that you always eat dinners as a family. Limit how much time they watch TV. Make sure they eat their vegetables and make sure they put on lots of sunscreen. The only thing I could think of sharing was, ”Make sure they play a sport that has a clock!” Maybe it wasn’t one of those warm and fuzzy comments that are common in these conversations, but very practical. I’m pretty sure that his wife didn’t hear that one from her friends. As I thought about it more, it really is one of the most important pieces of advice that you can give new parents. Several years later this poor guy could be spending his entire Saturday afternoon watching a double-header in 9-10 baseball–believe me, one game is quite enough. (And I admire the dedication and support that baseball parents bestow onto their kid’s baseball careers. I know that I couldn’t do it) What if his kid wants to play volleyball…those games can go on forever. How about tennis?
For the 21st century parents with hectic schedules, running from event to event, knowing the end time is a must. It is very hard to guess what time the baseball, volleyball or tennis match may end. However, if your child plays basketball, soccer, or lacrosse, one could make a reasonable guess. Then the family knows when they can get to their next event.
Even if your kid is playing in a tournament for the “clock” sports, you have a reasonable idea of the time commitment. And if you want to ever see 3-day tournaments being run with the precision of a Swiss watch, go to a girls lacrosse summer tourney. On day 3, if the game is scheduled to start at 2:45…it will start at 2:45. No delays or residual backups from previous games. How is this able to happen? Answer: the airhorn. I love it! No matter what the score, no matter that a girl is racing down the field about to score the winning goal, when the “Air Horn Nazi” blows the horn…game over! Next game! Parents can actually plan on what time they’ll be leaving the tournament and know what time they’ll be home! Can baseball, tennis, softball or volleyball do that?
So the next time one of your co-workers complains that they spent all of their Saturday afternoon watching their kid play baseball or softball, just remind them how you watched your kid’s lacrosse game and still made your 3:08 tee time. If it doesn’t have a clock, you could be in for a long, long afternoon.