There’s a reliable cadence during any given year as the seasons change. NJ is one of the states where we really get bang for the change-of-season buck. From blizzards to heat stroke, and every temperate temp in between, our lives are set to weather rhythms. Well, they used to be. Apparently the whole, “to everything (turn, turn, turn), there is a season (turn, turn, turn)” memo was not read by all. The tried and true markers of seasons are a-changing themselves, and our body clocks are sure to suffer in generations to come. Like many fast moving trends with unintended consequences, it seems spurred by well meaning parents and coaches we seem unable to refuse. Behold the days of winter lacrosse, fall baseball, and summer hockey. Cue the apocalypse!
Maybe astroturf is to blame, because actual grass growth cycles became irrelevant? Was it Under Armour? Has that flexi tech apparel marvel that clogs my laundry bins made warm weather sports comfy at odd times? Did global warming cause this? Is it simply warm enough to play summer sports year round, even without the body gear? But then how do you account for ice hockey in August? Our mastery of artificial climates is totally screwing with our sports seasons. Our kids’ seasonal reference will be more jumbled than mall shoppers faced with Christmas decorations in October.
Have the year round baseball advocates never heard of “spring training?” That’s when the whole shebang kicks off- not November! Did Don Henley sing of “The Boys of Winter?” I think not. Youth baseball has its place on the calendar. Please put it back there. And tell it to take softball with it, because the girls in town in their visors and knee socks look really out of place at the bagel store next to the football players.
It’s one thing when seasons overlap. Sentences like “I want to go snowboarding but I have lacrosse,” are perfectly fine in months that straddle seasons like March. Son1’s lacrosse vs. snowboarding debate was in December though last year. NO NO NO. For the love of God, I can’t even change out the Thule cases and sports gear racks on my car that quickly. You get one sport’s worth of gear smelling up my car at a time, Son1. Uno. I’ll give a pass to sports like swimming, karate, and gymnastics. They just never seem to end, you poor parents.
I’m always surprised how many kids do multiple team sports at the same time, and this seems to be escalating as the seasonal mash up continues. The 7th grader on Son1’s soccer team playing football and soccer has a busy schedule. He also has a friend though playing football AND baseball this Fall. To my seasonally-anchored-sports mind, that’s like surfing and skiing on the same day. Apart from that, when can they possibly be doing homework, and when do their parents ever get to stay home? I’ll be honest and say flat out I’m too frazzled and too selfish to spend every waking moment in carpools and on bleachers. Pick one, play hard, and then come home.
There is another category of concern in all of this sports jumble. It probably bears as much of the blame as superior HVAC systems. In an effort to foster what many parents see as a talent, they also think they see a way to fight rising college costs. Let me say clearly that if half of the kids on my sons’ soccer team think college bucks are coming, they’d better get cracking on a Plan B. (Lest you think I too share the delusions, I am totally including my own two in the Plan B planning team.)
Visions of financial aid have forced many parents into the delusion that honing their children’s abilities year-long will render them thoroughbreds worthy of NCAA nods and the scholarships that follow. So now we’ve messed up the natural rhythms of sporting goods retail AND deluded our children. Dick’s Sporting Goods’ merchandising team can adjust. The egos of some of these young athletes may take some more time when the light bulb flicks on that they’re not Division I, I-A, or even XIV-Z material.
Tonight, soccer practice is on the schedule, then ditto for tomorrow since both sons play. At some point, homework that is being brought home will be completed, and various household and family activities will ensue. It’ll be a busy autumn weekend, but it’ll be just an autumn weekend. It’s warm still, so some summer activities may resurface for the open slots, but spring and winter sports need not apply. You’ll have your turns soon enough, in your own season.