A Busy Afternoon

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A couple of weeks ago we had an usually busy Saturday afternoon. Specifically: a 4 hour period in which our three kids had to be at five separate events. Zone defense was a must in this situation, but required more than that. It required a game plan. We plotted the plan out the night before.

Things began just before 2 o’clock. Grace had to be at gymnastic practice for her team. That practice runs 2-1/2 hours on Saturdays. At 2:15, Zach had a soccer game. At about 20 minutes to two, I piled Zach and Grace into the minivan and headed to the sports and rec center where Grace has her gymnastics. I dropped her off there and reminded her that I’d be back before four o’clock to pick her up early. She had a birthday party to go to.

From there, Zach and I sped over to a local middle school where his soccer game was being held. Arriving there, I sought out his coach–also a family friend–and asked if he could take Zach home after the game. I had to leave early to transport Grace to a birthday party. Happily, he agreed to take Zach home.

When I finally, reluctantly left the soccer game, Zach’s team was losing 3-1 about 5 minutes into the second half. Zach had just gone in to play keeper.

I raced back to the rec center, found the very last parking spot available in the lot, and then dashed inside to remind Grace that she had to leave early. It was a fifteen minute drive from the rec center to the bounce hall where the party was being held. As part of our careful planning, Kelly had already filled out the waiver forms online. But because I was dropping her off and I was not Kelly, I had to fill them out all over again. Kelly also arranged for the hosts of the party–neighbors who live a few houses up the street from us–to bring Grace home afterward.

I headed back to the car and made the 20 minute drive back to the house. Zach had arrived home twenty minutes earlier. They lost their soccer game, but he played well.

Meanwhile… Around the time that Zach’s soccer game was starting, the Littlest Miss had a birthday party to attend at a nearby park. Kelly took her to the party. They had to leave the party early, however, because at 4:30, the Littlest Miss had a soccer game. As I write this, that soccer game is still in progress and I am missing it because I had all of these other things to attend to.

Both Zach and the Littlest Miss have soccer games tomorrow as well.

After a long week at work, I look forward to relaxing on the weekend. But today, and particularly this afternoon, felt busier and more fragmented than most of my work days.

I don’t ever remember being nearly this busy–in the structured sense–as a kid. My weekends frequently consisted of locating my friends, maybe swimming for a while (we were in Los Angeles, after all), playing capture the flag, and possibly making the long half-mile walk to 7-Eleven for candy and soda. The late afternoons and evenings were frequently filled with pickup touch football in the church parking lot across the street, or basketball games at the local junior high school (hopping the fence, since the gates were locked on the weekends). No calendar was required to make sense of the agenda for the day, and certainly not one that looked like this:

Four busy hours
Four busy hours

Times change, of course, and today, in our neck of the woods, structured days like this are normal. Structured weekend days like this make me yearn for retirement. At least there will be five days a week I can count on for somewhat less structure. Only nine years and counting…

Written on April 23, 2022.

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One comment

  1. Amen, sir.

    Our oldest of three is wrapping up her senior year. At what I think will be our high-water mark, we had 3 in soccer, 1 in gymnastics, 3 in band, 2 in marching band, 1 also in orchestra, 2 in piano lessons, 2 in instrument lessons, 3 in student council, 1 in NHS, etc, etc, etc. It was/is wild madness! We know families whose kids are doing 3 sports on top of that. And the thing is … in most cases the kids want to be doing most of it to a large degree.

    I have a lot more to say on the subject, but that’s probably a blog or newsletter post down the road.


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