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Missing Games for Religious Reasons

Discussion in 'Coaches Corner' started by Heinie Wagner, Oct 8, 2014.

  1. Heinie Wagner

    Heinie Wagner Member SoSH Member

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    We have a girl trying out for travel basketball who I've been told plays travel soccer but misses all the Sunday games for religious reasons.  Because of the number of girls we have at that grade level, we're taking everyone who tries out but if we weren't I'd have to give it a lot of thought before selecting her for a team.
     
    I imagine not selecting a player for a team for religious reasons could have some negative repercussions, but if a player is going to miss half their team's games, how can you not hold that against them, regardless of the reason?
     
     
     
  2. Hoplite

    Hoplite lurker

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    Hypothetically, I just wouldn't say it was for religious reasons, I would say it was due to scheduling issues. Players are free to do whatever recreational activities they choose, including religion. But if they're camping, going to church, doing drugs during half the games and can't make those times, it's not fair to the rest of the team.
     
  3. Just a bit outside

    Just a bit outside Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    This is a scheduling issue, not a religious issue. I have had this happen and told parents I couldn't pick a kid who would miss that many games. The reason is irrelevant.
     
  4. riboflav

    riboflav Member SoSH Member

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    Basketball is played on Sundays. What can you do?
     
  5. dbn

    dbn Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Convert?
     
  6. Heinie Wagner

    Heinie Wagner Member SoSH Member

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    I like that wording, "the reason is irrelevant".  I may work that into our expectations policy.  Thanks.
     
  7. Heinie Wagner

    Heinie Wagner Member SoSH Member

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    I have to admit, I'm surprised as the consensus seems to be what I thought all along, if you can't make the games, you can't be on the team, not fair to teammates.  I just thought someone would say you can't cut a kid from a team because of their religion. 
     
  8. Rasputin

    Rasputin Will outlive SeanBerry Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    You can't, but you aren't.
     
  9. Average Reds

    Average Reds Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Precisely - you aren't cutting her for her religion.  You are cutting her because she can't make the games.
     
  10. Fred not Lynn

    Fred not Lynn Dick Button Jr. SoSH Member

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    I live in a place where if you're on a team that occasionally plays on Sunday, the first thing they tell you is that it's ok to miss those games if necessary as long as you say so first...but that's Utah for you...and Sunday games are rare.
     
  11. Bosoxen

    Bosoxen Bounced back Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    He wouldn't be doing it for religious reasons, but that won't stop someone from accusing him of it.
     
  12. Heinie Wagner

    Heinie Wagner Member SoSH Member

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    Exactly, there is little logic to an angry parent who wants to argue with you about their kid not getting selected for a team.  
     
    Still, I appreciate the logical words here and will use them if the time comes when they're needed.
     
    We have a page on our site about expectations - we expect players to make all games and practices - and we have the player and a guardian sign that at tryouts - it's disappointing that someone would do that with the intention of missing almost half the games (assuming what I've been told is correct)
     
  13. Green Monster

    Green Monster Member SoSH Member

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    Sounds from the way you wrote this that it was not her telling you she wouldn't be able to attend Sunday games but rather someone else.  I don't think its right for you to cut her based on what someone else said about her.  I would draft some type of "Expectation Contract" that talks about your expectations towards missing games, being on-time, supporting teamates, etc and have ALL the kids/parents sign it.  This process should flush out anyone who may not be able to meet your expectations and you can discuss it with them and then decide to keep them or not.
     
  14. Heinie Wagner

    Heinie Wagner Member SoSH Member

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    It is second hand information, but pretty solid. At this age, In our town a ton of the girls basketball players also play soccer. We have spots on the team for all the girls in that age group because we had so few try out (we're not cutting any of them). Next year that most likely won't be the case.
     
    We have exactly the sort of contract you recommend.  They sign in the first night of tryouts, read it and sign, player and parent/guardian and it's on our site and linked where you go to get information to register for tryouts. We have 13 teams and every year 11-12 teams have no issues, but there's always one or two that do.
     
  15. Hoplite

    Hoplite lurker

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    It's the opposite of religious discrimination, it's not granting special privileges to someone based on their religion.
     
  16. loshjott

    loshjott Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Or, on the other hand, if she's really good and you want to keep her, you could offer her a half share and find another girl to fill the other half. 
     
  17. Schnerres

    Schnerres Member SoSH Member

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    How old are your players?
    So do i get this right - you´re a basketball coach for kids, you have a girl in your team and you expect her to miss about half the matches because she plays football on the sunday matches. And she told you that she can´t be with the team on sundays because she´s in church?
     
    It seems i understood something wrong, because i don´t see why you should lie to your coach about a 2nd activity. I mean, i coach a football team and i know some of my players miss trainings/matches because of other activities. We play in the lowest league, but we want to win the league title and promote to the next level, which is pretty rare for our club. And i have no problem at all with allowing players to leave to gymnastics, volleyball, etc., because we have enough players (just like you said you have), and i can always field 11 healthy players plus 3 bench players. I let our captain go to a gymnastic event in the derby vs. our neighbors, which are now tied with us for 2nd/3rd position, because i just know, if i tell him "you have to play, if you go to that gymnastics event, you won´t play for the next 4 weeks", he will leave our team someday in the winter, or he will be unhappy, or he will leave and take 3 other guys with him, or he will simply lie to me and tell me he is sick and go to the gymnastics event (=playing basketball and saying you´re in church). I mean, i have no problem if one of my players wants to play another sport and sometimes you have to give and sometimes you have to take..but i have a problem if i know guys lie to me and tell me they won´t be in the training because "they have to learn" or "they aren´t fit" or they "don´t have the time to come"...i mean hello - they are 15-16years old, go to school and live the easiest life you can imagine. But they wanna play some pc games or something like that. That´s when i get mad..not when someone wants to go to his boxing training once per week instead of my football training..
     
    And i don´t understand why do you say (you in the US) that you only want 12 roster spots in your team and then it´s full and closed. Isn´t it financially more worthwhile if you have an unlimited roster and everyone can join your team? I have 24 guys on my team, everyone has to pay of course (little money) and i have regular training participation of something about 16 guys...What if someone gets injured/moves away/loses interest? Then you only have 10 players, if you can´t find new players?
     
  18. Heinie Wagner

    Heinie Wagner Member SoSH Member

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    Our players are 5-8th grade (mostly 10-13 years old).  I'm the president of the club and coach a different boys team. The player or her family didn't tell me, we heard from multiple third parties because she's on a travel soccer team, you didn't miss that, it was a lie of omission.  It's not as big of an issue as it would be if we had so many players at that level that we had to cut kids. 
     
    We went from 11-12 players per team to 10 per team over the last couple years.  It has hurt financially but made it much easier for coaches to play everybody which is an important principle for our club.  At the 5-6th grade level, we have a 12 minute minimum in a 32 minute game. Even with 10, if a player or two misses time with conflicts or injuries, playing with 8 is fine (in some ways better).  Most of the players in our club make it to 90% or more of practices and game.  We are very up front about the commitment expectations and it generally works.
     
  19. Schnerres

    Schnerres Member SoSH Member

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    Why do you forbid your players to play football if there are parallel match times? If you have enough players (12) and you can leave 1-2 players do other things (and football, volleyball, etc. would be okay for me, honestly, contrary to saying they "have to learn", which they could do any other time and is just a bad alibi for saying they don´t wanna come to training), then your team seems like it´s still set up from top to bottom.
     
    I would tell this every player in training sessions open-minded: I need my players and i need dependable players. Players who aren´t there half of the time don´t know our system. They don´t get to know our strengths and weaknesses, etc...So even if they might be better one-on-one players than others, they might not play as much as others, due to them being absent so often.
     
    This is a very simple explanation that i could break down to kids understanding this, (older) teenagers understanding this or their parents understanding this.
     
  20. maufman

    maufman Dope Staff Member Dope Gold Supporter

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    It's a different situation because Sunday games are rare. If you're going to tolerate kids missing an occasional game (as most youth sports teams do), you have to give the same consideration to the kid who misses an occasional game for religious reasons.
     
  21. Fred not Lynn

    Fred not Lynn Dick Button Jr. SoSH Member

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    I am a total believer in letting kids be multi-sport athletes at this age. They should be allowed to miss some games at one sport or activity to be able to do this. It should be really clearly communicated, we'll in advance, though.

    And there's a difference between missing an occasional game and half or more of them. The big thing is that you don't want to end up forfeiting for too few showing up.
     
  22. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    I think you're still misunderstanding.  The girl isn't expected to miss basketball games on Sundays due to conflicting soccer matches.  She's expected to miss basketball games on Sundays due to church/religious obligations.  And they believe this because she participated in a soccer league in which she skipped Sunday matches due to those church/religious obligations.
     
    The question here is whether they can cut her from the basketball team and avoid accusations of religious discrimination.  I'd say if the reason for cutting her is that she is going to miss half the team's games/practices, then it shouldn't matter what her reasons for missing those games/practices are.  Team members are expected to attend every practice and game.  If they can't commit to that, then they can't play on the team.
     
  23. Schnerres

    Schnerres Member SoSH Member

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    Thx for clarification, now i got it!
     
    I would not "cut" her, but cutting players doesn´t exist in my team. But i understood it like there aren´t enough players on the team to cut her and create a spot for another player. I would obviously leave her for her religious activities on sundays and then bench her for how long i would think would be appropriate. If there´s "worse" players on the team, i would give them more minutes, because they participate in more team activities (=the sunday matches). Maybe i would give the start to another player (the girl who would usually be the bench center, or whatever), just to show the religious girl and everyone around the team my principles. I would explain it in short to the team and that´s it. If we lose, we lose. Where´s the problem if we finish 3rd or 5th (if this girl is better). I would also consider leaving here at home for some games if we have enough players and she´s an end of bench player. If she visits training regularly, of course i would not drop her. There´s many things to consider, for me, in my team... :)
     
  24. twothousandone

    twothousandone Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    This is completely sensible, but it doesn't sound as though it applies in this situation.
     
     
     
    It seems that intending to miss any games or practices runs afoul of the written agreement, doesn't it?  And that's where (as nothing but an observer) this has the potential to become troublesome -- are exceptions made for kids who play other sports, have music or other arts commitments, have school activities that can conflict? "So, you know Jane is violating the policy for a swim tournament, but you've got a problem with my kid going to church?" If the policy is there with the understanding that there will be exceptions, then the exceptions ought to be defined. I'm no lawyer, and I hope that doesn't make me sound like one. I hope I sound like a parent who wants his kids to be able to keep commitments, not find ways around them.
     
    In my town, several of the travel sports programs build in specific exceptions, which helps, and usually the organizations have dealt with conflicts over the years and know how to make them work. But sometimes at the coach level they are unfamiliar with the accommodations made, over time, which creates a lot of angst.
     
  25. Heinie Wagner

    Heinie Wagner Member SoSH Member

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    We have a pretty specific policy, it states that our club activities should be given higher priority than any other sports or clubs.  We should probably add "family activities".  I re-read ours and realized we did not have that.
     
    I meet with each group of parents prior to each tryout and explain that if you have regularly scheduled activities, like piano lessons or ski club that conflicts with our games or practices and you will chose the other activity over ours, then our club is not for you (we lose a lot of kids to ski club).  If you have a once a year event, like a school concert for example, it is understandable to miss practice for that as long as it is communicated to the coach in advance.
     
    Our local travel soccer club has a complicated policy with playing time minimums based on the percentage of team events attended, complete with color coded graphs, I think it's a shame to have to get to that level.  We are a small town and these are small teams (10 players), the coaches know the parents.  Coaches are very hesitant to dock a kid playing time for missing practices or games unless the situation becomes egregious.
     
  26. Just a bit outside

    Just a bit outside Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I think the half the team games is the issue. If it was one or two games it could be worked around.
     
    I don't understand why the parents and kid would even go out for the team and pay the money if they were going to miss that much of the season.
     
  27. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    Because the kid likes to play basketball but her and/or her parents take their religion seriously?
     
     
    I may have missed it in the thread, but has anyone discussed it with her parents? Asked how they think it should be handled--one kid not putting in the time commitment of the others but expects to play when she's there?
     
    Would she make all the practices?
     
  28. Just a bit outside

    Just a bit outside Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Then find a league that doesn't play on Sundays or whatever day there is a conflict.  The YMCA doesn't play on Sundays.
     
  29. Fred not Lynn

    Fred not Lynn Dick Button Jr. SoSH Member

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    Either that or go to a church that has a basketball court in it...
     
  30. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    Sure, but I don't know what's available.
     
    I'm not saying to give in, just answering why the kid might still want to play.
     
  31. Doug Beerabelli

    Doug Beerabelli Killer Threads Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Seems like it'd be for neutral reasons, not religious reasons.
     
    It's not like you're holding tryouts on Friday night of Yom Kippur or anything like that.
     
  32. robssecondjob

    robssecondjob Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I have to add color coded graphs to the website!  Our travel soccer club had to impose attendance requirements two years ago.  We had at least one player who made the division one team and then missed 75% of the games because of baseball commitments.
     
    We require 2 practices a week for the Div 1 teams and one a week for Div 2.  On the Div 1 teams if you miss one practice you miss a half.  Miss two and you ride the pine.  Exceptions for school events and illness.  So far it has worked pretty well.  Only a couple of parents a year tat complain.    
     
  33. Heinie Wagner

    Heinie Wagner Member SoSH Member

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    I CHECKED A CALENDAR OF JEWISH HOLIDAYS! It's not my fault the calendar didn't note that the holiday starts at sundown the day before.  I'll never make that mistake again and I'll never forget the "my daughter isn't trying out for your club this year, but I'm highly offended by your callous disregard for the most holy day of the year" email.  I wanted to reply that Wal Mart is open that night, she should write them and pledge never to shop there again.
     
  34. Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

    Rick Burlesons Yam Bag Internet Cowboy, Turbo Accelerator Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I came in here to see if the Sunday issue had come up and sure enough, here we are, but from a bit of a different angle.

    I have three kids, 9, 11 and 14 and one of my crackpot rules is that each one has to be playing at least one sport at all times throughout the year. For the most part they can choose the sport, I will not drive 3 hours 5 nights a week so that one of them can play some dipshit sport, but generally I am pretty cool.

    Here's the rub though. A growing number of leagues in my area are scheduling games on Sunday's, and in the case of non-HS wrestling, there were as many Sunday tournaments as Saturday. My question is pretty simple.....why?? I have pretty much accepted that I am another 10 years away from having a Saturday where I can relax and get shit done around the house, but why are leagues so hell bent on having games on Sunday? I am a regular church goer, but it isn't completely tied up in that, it is more that I want my Sundays back. I am 47 and I played 3-4 sports each year all through high school, and I don't remember more than 2-3 damned games on a Sunday (usually 2-day tournaments or unusual events like rain puts during playoffs) nor any practices.

    Where I live there does not appear to be any lack of fields or facilities creating this drive to Sunday play. I would rather go to a game that starts at 5:00 on Saturday than a game on Sunday.

    I've been working on this for the last few months with a handful of folks involved in the sports leagues in our area as "parent burn out" is becoming a growing issue in league sign up totals for soccer, basketball, softball and football. Football addressed their problem by telling coaches that kids who go on vacation in August can't be punished by missing game time. Boom, they had a 10 percent increase in enrollment the following season after 4 years of decline even with all of the concussion stuff in the background.

    Has anyone dealt with this? What were the drivers for Sunday play and what were the pros and cons of moving away from Sunday?
     
  35. soup17

    soup17 Member SoSH Member

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    In our organization, we do Sunday baseball doubleheaders to avoid conflict with our house league baseball season (nearly every team has a game on Saturdays). Most of the teams at our age level (from 8U to 12U) in our area are "Sunday only" for that reason.
     
  36. Heinie Wagner

    Heinie Wagner Member SoSH Member

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    If you want to fit in 18+ basketball games in the winter, you pretty much have to play on Sundays.

    Our town soccer travel club plays on Sundays, because they have to if they want to fit in all the games they want to play (roughly 1:1 practice/game ratio). Our daughter played for a premier soccer club that rarely played on Sundays (3:1 practice/game ratio).

    In our travel basketball league many clubs only have access to gyms on Sundays. None of the clubs own a gym. The town they're in lets them use the high school or middle school gym when there are no school activities there. Many HS/MS gyms are packed full of activities on Saturdays.

    I've been at basketball league meetings where it was proposed to have no games before noon on Sundays and a couple towns said they'd have to drop out of the league.
     
  37. Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

    Rick Burlesons Yam Bag Internet Cowboy, Turbo Accelerator Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    We are pretty fortunate in terms of basketball, in that every middle and elementary school has a court that can be made full sized or cut down, which gives us a ton of flexibility. In truth, basketball is not really the problem for the Sunday stuff, they have very rare games on Sundays, but they are losing kids to winter baseball (personally I am not a big advocate of winter baseball for kids under 13-14, but that is my thing. Each parent should make that decision on their own) which has been growing in our area.

    I don't get why travel soccer has to be on Sunday's though. Why can't those games be on Saturdays instead? I do get it for tournaments, but for regular matches.

    I just learned in the last hour that one of the best soccer coaches at the U13 level won't coach next season and is pulling his three kids out of the league because he is sick of missing church. Blech.
     
  38. Heinie Wagner

    Heinie Wagner Member SoSH Member

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    Travel Soccer around here plays on Saturdays AND Sundays. Pretty much every Sat/Sun all fall - my middle son's 6th grade travel team had 18 games from Sept 6 to Nov 8 last fall. One was a Friday night game where the club was experimenting with lights they rented. Tough to fit that many games in without playing on Sundays.

    2 games/week for soccer in the fall, games almost every Sat/Sun to 2 games/week for basketball in the winter, almost every Sat/Sun - baseball in the spring - 3 games/week, but weekday games, so games Sat/Practcie Sun - it's exhausting. Our 8 and 11 year olds are taking the summer off from baseball for a number of reasons, one is just to have more family time.
     
  39. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I used to coach 18U rec baseball. There is no longer an 18U team in my town's rec league. Players do not sign up. All games were played as doubleheaders on Sundays against surrounding town's teams. I think the team's demise has more to do with the travel ball/high school effect, but it may be the team no longer exists due in part to the Sunday scheduling. It was never mentioned to me as an issue.
     
  40. Cumberland Blues

    Cumberland Blues Dope Dope

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    Except for soccer - Sunday games aren't really a thing in northern VT. But fall soccer - the rec leagues play on Saturdays, and the "premiere" leagues play on Sunday - so if you want your kid exposed to better players/more competition, you've gotta play on Sundays. For baseball there are only Sunday games during tournaments - and we've not had a Sunday basketball game yet (tho for hoops my kid just plays rec - the more competitive leagues do have Sunday games I think). Fall baseball used to be a Sunday endeavor here - but they switched to Saturday's a couple year's ago.
     
  41. robssecondjob

    robssecondjob Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Here on the Cape we are all over the place. Fall travel and rec soccer are Saturday only. Spring soccer can be either day depending on the age group and division. All division 1 teams play Saturday. Younger teams and division 2 teams play on Sundays. Field space at some of the towns is the issue.

    Travel basketball, which is two games per weekend, could be either day, but last season every single Sunday had two games. The first Saturday game we had was the playoffs.

    Lacrosse is always Sunday, baseball is never Sunday (with the notable exception of the majors-level skill competition).
     
  42. BigJimEd

    BigJimEd Member SoSH Member

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    Plenty of Sunday games in my town. Little League can be Saturday or Sunday. Club baseball can be either or both. Town soccer is Saturday but travel soccer can be either day. Lacrosse is Sundays. Basketball can be either. Flag football is Saturday. Tackle football can be Saturday or Sunday depending on the team.
     
  43. Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

    Rick Burlesons Yam Bag Internet Cowboy, Turbo Accelerator Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Tackle football on Saturday after 1:00 p.m. or Sunday at all strikes me as the dumbest, most self absorbed crap known to man.
     
  44. BigJimEd

    BigJimEd Member SoSH Member

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    Why is it different than other sports?
    It mainly comes down to field availability. In this league, the day and general time each team is playing is set ahead of time.
     
  45. maufman

    maufman Dope Staff Member Dope Gold Supporter

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    Yeah, not everyone can play games on Saturday mornings.

    Our youth football plays on Sunday mornings. It's not ideal for churchgoing Protestants (Catholics can just go Saturday night), but it's probably the least bad solution.
     
  46. Average Reds

    Average Reds Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I believe that Yammer is hypothesizing that forcing kids to miss college or NFL games to play their own youth football games may not be furthering an affection for the youth league.

    I do understand your point and realize that field availability is the driver here. I also think that the leagues should go out of their way not to create obvious conflicts.

    Having said all this, if you take Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday out of play, there aren't many windows for youth football that don't directly compete with HS football in this country. And I would think that's the conflict that drives a lot of scheduling.
     
  47. BigJimEd

    BigJimEd Member SoSH Member

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    OK. That makes sense. Yes, ideally as many conflicts as possible should be avoided. Not sure you can avoid them all though.
     
  48. Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

    Rick Burlesons Yam Bag Internet Cowboy, Turbo Accelerator Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Yes, this is exactly it. I'm certainly not advocating that kids should spend all day Saturday and Sunday watching football (although that would be pretty awesome from a Dad perspective), but I do feel that watching their favorite college or pro team, or the big game of the day is an important part of developing an understanding for and love of the game. And BigJimEd, I wasn't criticizing your league directly, but rather this ludicrous mentality of putting games all over the weekend instead of just on Saturday mornings.

    The pee-wee leagues near me pretty much own their own fields, they can play whenever they want, and yet they play Saturday afternoons, Sunday afternoons and Saturday nights. This is ludicrous. Parents will say "It is a thrill for them to play under the lights!" to which I respond "Playing under the lights is one of the cool rewards of playing HS football. Let's not ruin our Saturday nights, blow out our Saturdays and miss the best college football just so a kid can be mildly happier."

    I'd like to see leagues get more aggressive and think more broadly about field use so that these Sunday games can be avoided as best as possible. Even if we did have a problem with field availability, there are multiple middle and high school turf fields which are unused on most Saturday mornings in our area. If I remember correctly, there were 5 teams per club, from flag through 8th grade. On average, games lasted 90 minutes (flag and the littlest guys were done in under an hour). Start things at 8:00 and be done by 2:00. Let people enjoy their weekend and let the kids enjoy the recreational sports.
     
  49. maufman

    maufman Dope Staff Member Dope Gold Supporter

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    This is unusual in my experience. It certainly isn't the case in my hometown, nor does it seem to be the case in surrounding towns, or in the towns where my relatives with young kids live.

    I do agree that there's too little regard for religious observance, and we should have more late afternoon games on Saturdays and fewer games on Sunday mornings, but if your community could accommodate all games (or even most of them) on Saturday mornings, you're in the minority.
     
  50. BigJimEd

    BigJimEd Member SoSH Member

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    Yeah. I wish all games for all sports were done early Saturday.
    Unfortunately in our area, the peewee league teams generally use the high school field. There is no separate youth field.
    The HS field in our town is a multi-use field so it is almost always being used on weekends and during the week, particularly in the fall. Just ask some of the neighbors who complain most town meetings. HS football, soccer and other fall sports all use it.
    Then the youth sports and rec clubs get to use it.
    There is a practice field the peewee league uses weeknights but I know a soccer league uses that on Saturday.

    In short we just don't have enough fields and I don't think it is unique to our town in this area.
     

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