An Open Letter to the Lady Who Shut My 8-Year-Old Daughter Out of Youth Lacrosse


Let kids play!

Let kids play!


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139 Responses to An Open Letter to the Lady Who Shut My 8-Year-Old Daughter Out of Youth Lacrosse

  1. lollipoplover February 10, 2016 at 11:20 am #

    Most of these youth sports leagues are volunteer run to keep costs low for young athletes. The coaches are volunteers. Perhaps they closed the date so early because they have a limited number of coaches, who spend endless, unpaid hours with children and give them a chance to learn a sport. It’s a thankless job, as a frequent coach for my daughter’s teams. I’ve coached soccer, softball, field hockey and would actually LOVE to coach girl’s lacrosse too. It doesn’t take a lot of technical knowledge, just keeping it fun and learning the basics.

    I see that she said:
    “I’ve never played lacrosse, but I’d be willing to help if the program’s short on coaches.”
    Having additional coaches willing to volunteer allows these youth sports to open up enrollment to more children. Most of these community sports leagues are begging for more volunteer coaches, trust me. I always get asked when there are more kids enrolled than volunteer coaches.

    There also may be limited space to practice and play girl’s lacrosse. Sadly, girls sports fields don’t get township priority over baseball fields with lights and soccer complexes for spring sports. Cramming too many young lacrosse players onto limited field space isn’t a good solution either (or a safe one).

    I don’t think the woman who turned your daughter away is a *gatekeeper*. She’s just a volunteer who hit the league’s limit on either coaches or field limitations. Volunteer to coach your own team or see if there are more lacrosse fields available.

  2. Warren February 10, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    Sorry, but this all falls on the letter writer. There are limits placed on the number of players per team for very good reasons. The most important being playing time. The more players you have on a team the less time each player gets to play. And as a player and coach there is one thing we all know. Too much time riding the pine will lead to young players loosing interest in the sport.

    Later on when players are older and even more so in competitive leagues, players understand that being on the bench is part of the sport. The better players start and you are there to replace them in important situations.

  3. James Pollock February 10, 2016 at 11:47 am #

    Joining a team late suggests that all that has come before is non-essential. Adding players to a team late disrupts planning and organization.

    The popularity of lacrosse has been on the rise, for both girls and boys. I suspect the reason the league is standing firm on not adding kids who registered late is not a shortage of coaches, but a shortage of playing fields and practice spaces.

    In my area, public playing fields are maintained and controlled by a park and recreation district, and they require that each sport settle on a single organization to schedule playing fields. So there’s one baseball league, one softball league, one football league, one basketball league, and one lacrosse league, and each league manages both girls’ and boys’ teams. The league has to put in a request for which fields it wants, and when it wants them, far in advance. The park district juggles the requests between all the different sports (thus deciding if a specific playing field will be set up for soccer or lacrosse, for example. A team COULD set up and practice on a private field, if they have access to one… but the league will have reserved fields for games based on their estimate of the number of players (and thus, teams) they expect to get. They can’t easily expand to more.
    The only exceptions are tennis and basketball, because there are significant private facilities for both, and thus an athlete interested in these sports has more options to choose from.

    Bottom line: Be on time next year.

  4. Becca February 10, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

    I feel your pain. We moved into our town in August, thereby never having a chance to sign our five year old up for soccer ahead of time. This is youth town soccer. I was told absolutely not, as registration occurs in the spring. The next year I signed him up and registered to coach. I found out then that although registration is in the spring they don’t even make up the teams until September. Give me one good reason you shut out a 5 year old that was just trying to make friends in a new town!

  5. Julie February 10, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

    Oh for crying out loud. February 1st is NOT too late to sign up for a damn SPRING sport. Warren and Lollipoplover you are off the mark. I’m a team Mom for the soccer leagues that play on the field across the street from my house and am here to tell you there is ALWAYS room for more.

    Wendy Cicchetti I encourage you not to take no for an answer and attend practice with your daughter anyway. She’ll get on a team. Keep a completed application, birth certificate and the sign up fee in your pocket. Kids/Families change their minds, switch leagues and teams regularly usually because practice/game times & fields ultimately don’t mesh with family schedules.

    Members of my family have lived in this house for 17 years and none of us has ever seen a child turn up to practice and be turned away on that field. The leagues aren’t posh arty farty ones. They are mainly Parks & Rec., Catholic Youth and Evangelical Church. Even though they’re sponsored the coaches/families don’t give a rat’s ass what you believe.

    Go and play for Pete’s sake.

    By the way, a cruel middle school band teacher told my 12 year old daughter she wasn’t good enough for the high school marching band last Spring, because she was fat. She showed up to all the Summer practices last year, went to Band Camp, played all of Marching season and is now in Second Band. She was recently selected to be an Assistant Squad Leader for her instrument. That’s usually a job for Soph’s or older. She’s a giggly, chubby 13 y.o. Frosh.

    Wendy, please don’t stay home.

  6. Betsy in Michigan February 10, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    For a parent looking for a fun active outlet for a young child, it is not unreasonable for them to be in the dark about how competitive and popular these things have become. Feb. 1st should be WELL in advance for summer activities (it is for most overnight and daycamps). I was floored myself when I found out that they were signing the kids up for tee-ball (TEE-ball!) in January. Luckily they had an “overflow” team, where you wouldn’t play at your local parks (but my town is 6 square miles – not a biggie). It sounds like the LW needs to ask about additional teams being arranged (and volunteering for same).

  7. Thea February 10, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    Yeah, I don’t see this as a free range issue as much as a do stuff on time issue. I feel bad for the kid but there are probably lots of reasons why they have limits. I didn’t play sports. I was in band. It’s a somewhat different world. But the rule still applied that if your parent had to sign or pay or whatever by a certain date then that’s what had to happen. It’s not a shot at the daughter.

    And while I do see the point that it is more difficult for kids to start pick up games in the neighborhood, it’s not impossible. We don’t know what it’s like where this person lives. Her daughter’s only options aren’t lacrosse or the couch. That’s small thinking.

  8. andy February 10, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

    I agree with the comments above. Whoever is organizing youth sport has not just limited physical room and volunteers. She has also limits on how much time of forces she has. At some point she is doing what she can organize in her free time. Sometimes even having one more volunteer wont help you, because you will then have to organize one more person. Especially when that volunteer is not experienced in that sport and wont be self-sufficient (will a lot of help).

    The easiest way to burn out is to never say no on one more task. The emotional plead in the letter is nice try, but is ultimately unfair to organizers. They are not un-inclusive by having limit on how much they can do. That is absurd. It is ok to try to negotiate a bit, but quite frankly, trying to use open letter and public pressure on them is going too far and a bit disrespectful too. Making them responsible for lack of girls sport is royally unfair, they are already doing more then most.

    There not being enough of sport for girls is not a problem of the lacross team nor women cant handle another kid. It is problem resources distribution (town sponsoring boys more? sport league assuming girls are unintersted? someone else?) That one should be target for letters, not coach.

    Lastly, if you never played lacrosse, I don’t think you can teach children how to do it. People who sign for organized sport often want their kids to be taught right technique and habits. If you really mean the sport to be entry point for more serious competitions as it sound to, then it is very important to learn right technique early on. You cant become coach like that in two weeks. The mom could help with certain things, but not with coaching itself.

  9. MichaelF February 10, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

    Sorry, not really on Wendy’s side here.

    This is an organizational problem, I have coached as well for Soccer and some for Little League, and I do bemoan the months in advance registrations that you have to do. It’s the same for any popularizared sport/activity. Even when it takes months to hear back! So yeah, it stinks that her daughter can’t play Lacrosse, but offer to help coach if that will amend, or maybe ask why there are limits, maybe as a newscaster she can highlight these issues. A town like Westwood is fairly well endowed with a tax base, so maybe checking into priorities and how the town balances female sports v. others for field access and team sizes. Wendy should use some journalistic sense here and check into things, rather than take the boilerplate email from a volunteer as the end all and be all of reasons. I’ve seen local teen girls write letters to my towns paper about how there is little money for a girls team, but plenty for the boys soccer field and more money to keep THEIR lights on for night games, while the girls need to end by dusk.

    In something like this there are usually reasons, one just needs to find them.

  10. Renee Anne February 10, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    Sorry, I’m with the “gatekeeper” on this one. There are only so many hours in a day when children are not in school, only so many coaches, only so many practice fields, and only so many children that can get into programs. Not only that, but many states have laws regarding what’s commonly known as a “kid-to-adult ratio” and it’s based on the ages of the children. For example, my 5 year old started soccer last summer. There are 36 slots in his group (5-6 year olds) and at least 3 coaches (though usually 4) because the ratio is 12 kids:1 adult for that age group. When he was in the younger group, there were 4 coaches (usually 5) because the ratio was 9 kids: 1 adult.

    So, while I understand the point of wanting all kids to have a chance to participate, it’s not just about the kids. At least mom is owning the fact that she didn’t have her act together…though perhaps she needs to own it a bit more. This was her fault for not getting the kid registered on time.

  11. Tee Dee February 10, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

    A check of their website says that team capacities have been reached. To me, this implies that this is the way they do things. Which seems reasonable, doesn’t it?

    Hopefully the deadline or team capacity limit was clearly posted somewhere, but still: I hardly think it’s fair to paint the lady at the league as capriciously denying Wendy’s daughter entry like some sort of Snidely Whiplash.

    Sh-t happens. Try again earlier next year and get over it.

  12. Thomas Clancy February 10, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

    There are many things kids can do that aren’t sports, but they require parents to be involved in creating those things. Baseball doesn’t just “happen”, it requires coaches, fields, dues, jerseys, sponsors, schedules and more. All of that DOES happen because the parents (who fill most of those roles, and pay those fees) value and appreciate Baseball, and we’re used to Baseball being a perennial thing. Here’s one example: My kids are not terribly “sportsy”, and as such we’ve started a Robotics team (with First Lego League and First Lego League Junior). We have practices, design days, presentation days, and even an annual competition with the hundreds of other teams in our area, which if we were to qualify (yes its competitive!) we’d go on to state, national and even international competition. This year we didn’t win (boo), but there’s always next year. This is just ONE example of many things that are out there. Its not all Baseball and Boy Scouts. MAKE YOUR OWN EVENTS! Start an art club, make a community garden, go skiing, help the elderly. Don’t bemoan the darkness, light a candle.

  13. Randy February 10, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    I also feel for that parent. We are at our wit’s end with out 11-year-old daughter. We’ve tried softball, soccer, running, tennis, not to mention the various non-athletic activities, and she seem to have little to no interest in sports. That might be find, but like you said, what else can a kid do for physical activity these days? When I was a kid, when it wasn’t Little League baseball season, you simply got your buddies together and started a game. Or wandered in the woods. Or climbed trees. Or rode bikes around. There is NONE of that around here. When I suggest that she go over to her friend’s house NEXT DOOR and just hang out (when we know she’s around), my kid looks at me like I just grew a horn. These days, childhood simply blows.

  14. pentamom February 10, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

    It’s unfortunate that it seems like there’s no alternative to this organized sport, but mom here is acting like a special snowflake. Nobody here knows how many kids the league is able to take, whether this year was fuller than usual, whether a team sponsoring organization had to drop out, nothing. The fact that your sons got in despite your inconsiderate attitude toward deadlines means you got away with it the past, it doesn’t mean that the Thurmond kids are always entitled to a spot regardless of how little concern their mom has for things like deadlines.

    Your 8 year old is paying the price BECAUSE OF YOUR ACTIONS. The league is not making her pay the price, you are, because you couldn’t pull off a signup on time. Saying you take full responsibility but then suggesting they’re the ones making her “pay the price” is nonsense.

    I say this as someone whose kids have missed things because I’ve missed deadlines. It’s true, not all moms are super-organized and life happens and things can be missed without it being a horrible crime on our part. But it IS our responsibility, if something is important for our kids to do, that we take the steps to make sure it happens, rather than expecting that the people who give their time and energy to run these activities for kids make sure of it for us. That’s what being a grownup, even a not very organized one, means.

  15. CG February 10, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

    The letter writer notes that she has previously signed up her son late for sports, so it appears this all falls on the letter writer. While I understand the overarching problem of unorganized sports for children, this does not mean that all organized teams should accommodate someone who is, self-admittedly, habitual about being late for sign-up deadlines. If she wants her children to be on these teams and there are no other organizations offering them, it is her responsibility to know the deadlines and yes, unfortunately children often do pay for the mistakes of their parents.

  16. Daniel DuBois February 10, 2016 at 12:31 pm #


  17. pentamom February 10, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    Shorter version of my own comment: if this was the last possible thing your daughter could constructively do this spring, and her spring will be significantly diminished without it, why was it not important enough to you to meet the deadline?

  18. Susan February 10, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    I have had a child in Fall, Winter & Spring sports for the last 15 years. In the large sports like AYSO soccer, Little League & even park district sports, there are very specific dates to sign up. GROW UP & BE AN ADULT. Follow the rules like everyone else. WHY DO YOU THINK YOU ARE SO SPECIAL MOM? AYSO had a Fall sign up day for the next year (yes, you signed up around 10 months before the season starts!) You have to do this because all of these organizations are run by volunteers & they need to find 50-100 volunteer coaches per park. It is this mother’s fault that her child can’t play Lacrosse. Don’t blame the volunteer. Tell the mother that her daughter can play club Lacrosse if she wants to shell out $2000-5000 per year, otherwise, she needs to sign up on time and do volunteer hours. People like this make me sick!

  19. BL February 10, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

    “These days, if a kid is not in organized sports, there is nothing else for him or her to do, since kids don’t organize their own games anymore.”

    It’s not just kids. Few adults seem to be able to organize a neighborhood poker game anymore. It’s go to a casino that deals poker or nothing. The few remaining bridge players all play duplicate bridge now, very rarely home or club games of rubber or Chicago bridge – I was shocked to read online about new bridge players taking a series of beginner lessons then going straight into a duplicate game as their first real game. That’s a helluva jump.

  20. JulieH February 10, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

    It is unfortunate, Wendy, that you missed the cutoff. It is too bad that your child suffers as a result, but there is a good free-range lesson to be learned all around…but not the one you imply. Our actions have consequences. Sometimes is it the actions of others that result in one suffering consequences. Sometimes the consequences involve significant disappointment. It is perfectly fine for a child to suffer from disappointment. Your daughter will not be scarred for life if she doesn’t play lacrosse this year. To me, your letter is trying to deflect responsibility.

    The fact that you tried to sign up after the close of registration and were told that you would be placed on a “waiting list” is a VERY reasonable thing. As other commenters have mentioned, it may be a matter of playing space or coaches. It could just be that they have filled out an even number of balanced teams at this point and are keeping a waiting list hoping that they can fill out 2 more teams with minimal shuffling. The thought of “why can’t they just add one more” only applies if you are the only one asking. And at some point they do have to put a stake in the ground to set their teams…and continuing to add as things trickle in makes MUCH more of a mountain of work than I think that you seem to realize.

    If you REALLY cared about the situation, you would have entered into a dialogue with the coordinator to understand her position, needs, and limitations to see if there was a way you could lighten her burden to make it easier for your daughter to be included. Rather, you jump to conclusions and try to embarrass and persecute her publically.

    I have been late for a registration of this sort before…I had been extremely ill (barely out of bed, lost 30 lbs in less than 4 weeks) AND my husband at the same time was hospitalized very ill with a “stroke” to his colon that almost resulted in the loss of almost half his colon) and they had changed to an earlier registration date that year. Of course I asked if they would accept it…and I would have completely understood getting the response you did even though my circumstances were so dire. Never would it have occurred to me to try to pawn off the responsibility of it publicly like you have. Just plain rude.

  21. Vaughan Evans February 10, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

    Why is it illegal for children to organize their own games at a park?

    Up to what age?
    -Who would get into trouble? The parents? The parks boards

  22. BL February 10, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    @Vaughan Evans
    “Why is it illegal for children to organize their own games at a park?”

    Because Things Are Different Now ™

    Thomas Clancy says baseball doesn’t just happen. It used to. Kids with balls and bats in an open field, choose up sides. Maybe not even a full game but something like two-old-cat. Somebody’s hat would be a base.

  23. Katie February 10, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    I fail to see what this has to do with free range parenting. The real tragedy is not that some kid didn’t get to play a youth league sport, it is that kids don’t go out and play sports informally in their neighborhoods anymore. Instead the parents drag them in gas guzzlers where they don’t get exercise any exercise to get to a practice where they get some lower level of exercise at a sports practice than if they were to play outside.

    It’s also a good lesson for both the mom and the daughter on being on time. If you aren’t you may or may not get what you want, but you surely shouldn’t expect everyone to bend over backwards to please you. And it is a good lesson for the daughter that you can’t always have what you want.

  24. Kristin February 10, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

    If the deadline has passed, I guess you wait for the next season to roll around, and take it as a lesson learned.

    But the reason this story is on the Free-Range Kids site, as you see in Lenore’s commentary, is because kids who aren’t in an organized program often have a hard time scaring up a game to play. Most of the athletic neighborhood kids will be at thrice-weekly practices and games rather than hanging around waiting for a pick-up game in the park.

    We were involved in youth soccer and basketball for a few years and didn’t love the systematized nature of it. It reminded me of Disneyland, where the parents are trying so hard to create a perfect childhood experience, they don’t notice that the kids are often getting dragged along for the ride rather than competing of their own volition. I know there are kids who live and breathe their sport, and that’s great. But what about kids who just want to play tag and red rover, or have a game of kickball in the grass? Just try fielding a team for something like that. You can’t – the neighborhood streets and parks are deserted because it’s unacceptable for kids to simply play. Instead, in hopes of getting their children out in the sunshine, parents are signing their toddlers up for soccer – even those toddlers who really just want to play on the swings or dig in the sand pile.

  25. Julie February 10, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

    Nope, I just talked to my sister who lives in a small youth sports town in the next county over. Youth Sports are king there. She and her husband are league commissioners and have been for years. Soccer and basketball for her. Baseball and football for him. The Mom’s who just moved to town or called on Feb.1st to sign up are not being “special snowflakes”. Jo gave me some tips for anyone who needs to enroll in a league after the ” deadline”.

    1)The Mayor, League Commissioner or Community Center director can and will make room for your child. Police and Fire Chief’s move mountains.

    2) Find out which advertisers are paying for team jersey’s. If Skip from Skip’s Pizza hears your child needs a team he will make it happen.

    3) Smaller communities and suburbs often have Clergy persons who have served their congregations for decades. If Father Joe or Pastor Timberall hears that your child is looking for a team he is she will make sure a place is found. You do not have to be a church member.

    4)Ask at work especially if you moved to town for a position. Your child will get on a team.

    5) In-laws and neighbor’s. Ditto.

    All of the nay-sayers on here today are being really mean and insulting. As adults it is our responsibility to nurture and assist kids and families not scoff at and belittle them.

  26. TXMom February 10, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    Agree with the others, this is 100% on the mom. YES to the Special Snowflake comment!! MOM missed the deadline so instead of owning up she’s teaching her kid to put blame on someone else. And honestly, this child is 8 YEARS OLD. Pretty sure this isn’t going to be the last opportunity she ever has to play lacrosse.

    Beyond that, I have to say that while I really like this site and Lenore’s articles, I do think that this part: “These days, if a kid is not in organized sports, there is nothing else for him or her to do, since kids don’t organize their own games anymore. How can they, when it is almost illegal for them to be at the park on their own, unsupervised?” is really more inflammatory than anything!!! Really, NOTHING else for them to do besides team sports? That whole quote is just fear-mongering doom and gloom. I guess maybe when that’s your focus maybe that’s all you see.

    I realize that there is a problem in our country with over-sheltering and not letting kids play and do their thing, and parents getting in trouble for their choices. And I think it’s important to shed light on that. BUT I think it’s important to note there most certainly ARE places in the US where kids run around, play, walk/bike to school, hang in packs and make up games, and do LOTS AND LOTS of other things besides either playing and organized sport or sitting on the couch. My neighborhood is just like that and I am eternally grateful. Any parent who doesn’t have that, and wants it for their kid, needs to stop whining and complaining and relying on outside forces and make things happen!

  27. Shannon February 10, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

    ” These days, if a kid is not in organized sports, there is nothing else for him or her to do, since kids don’t organize their own games anymore. How can they, when it is almost illegal for them to be at the park on their own, unsupervised?”

    I just wanted to comment that the other day I took my kids sledding (I love to sled, too lol) at our town hill. There were lots of kids there, some supervised some not. We left a sled behind and I went to retrieve it the next day, during a snowfall, and was so happy to see a group of kids sledding there, no parents around. They were having a blast.

  28. Katie February 10, 2016 at 1:01 pm #


    Don’t you think that long list of people have better things to do than have their time wasted by some mom who thinks their kid is a special snowflake. In fact calling the police/fire officials because your kid didn’t get put on some team is in my opinion the definition of a crazy helicopter parent. And as a business owner if I started getting calls from crazy helicopter moms I think I would just stop sponsoring the team.

  29. Crystal February 10, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

    If you’re too late, you’re too late. There are any number of reasons that they could not take this woman’s daughter. We encounter little disappointments like this all the time as adults- this is a good chance to practice dealing with that for the little girl (and maybe mom, too?). I understand her guilt, but I don’t think it’s right to try to pass it off on the organizer. Besides, there are lots of other different kinds of sports that she might still be able to sign up for. Don’t cry over spilled milk. This is a resilience-building experience. Deal with it and move on.
    With posts like this, I am starting to question why I still subscribe to this blog. I don’t see how this is a big deal for “common sense parenting.”

  30. Dolly February 10, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

    I don’t see how this is a free range issue. This is a life lesson, be on time. Think and plan ahead. Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. Next year sign up on time

  31. HotInLa February 10, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    While I do feel badly for the child (although this surely isn’t the end of the world for her) it’s Mom’s fault, period. Not being mean, I’ve done it before & kicked myself in the butt for it. But it was my fault, not the sport “gatekeeper”.
    Maybe she could just show up & possibly get her dd on a team…doesn’t hurt to try. But writing this letter is kinda ridiculous. Actually, I think lots of these “open letters” people post online these days are.

  32. JulieH February 10, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

    @Julie – Nope back at you. No where are we provided information as to why there was a need for the waitlist. There may be a VERY compelling reason. By your own admission, your spoke with people involved with soccer, basketball, baseball, and football – are there different considerations than they may be aware of with lacrosse? I don’t know, and I would suspect that you (and they) don’t either. Wendy didn’t take the time to find out more BEFORE she set out to shame them into action. Seems to me that your response (and hers) is that the mom should just bully her kid’s way in.

    Nor does Wendy imply that they are new in town and moved in after the deadline. She does, in fact, reference that she is a late registrant on more than one occasion…a habitual offender so-to-speak. To bring the discussion of a newcomer to town (although mentioned by a commenter for their situation) to part of the defense of Wendy’s action is disingenuous. Does not apply.

  33. JulieH February 10, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

    Looking at the website for the Westwood, MA girls’ lacrosse program, a February 1 date looks pretty reasonable. They indicate that practices start in March AS SOON AS THEY ARE CLEARED TO USE THE FIELDS. That could be early March if the weather conditions are right. That gives the coordinator time to set the teams, get the team info to the coaches, and give time for the coaches to contact the team members…all before the start of March.

    People often don’t understand how to work back with dates for project planning. Things often must start much earlier that one would think on the surface.

  34. Ravana February 10, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    Sorry mom, if your child being in an organized sport is so important to you then you need to register on time. I suspect the league has a limited amount of equipment and space. A whole lot of other busy parents managed to find the time to register on time too. If the child learning to play lacrosse is the important part, how about going out to a used sporting goods store, buying a couple of sticks and a ball, making a trip to the library and checking out a how to play lacrosse book or video and then taking your kid to the park to toss the ball around. Then circle the first day of registration on your calendar for next year.

  35. E February 10, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    Everyone has covered it — this isn’t on the person who had to tell you no, it’s on you. If there isn’t a deadline, that means there’s NEVER a deadline and groups just can’t operate that way. The fact that she mentioned a waitlist implies (to me) that other people are ahead of you anyway. Too many kids on a given team may end up doing a lot of bench sitting (something that parents DO NOT tolerate, lol). It’s not some arbitrary penalty.

    I don’t know if the ‘gatekeeper’ is paid or a volunteer (and it doesn’t matter in regard to being past the deadline), but it’s an enormous pet peeve of mine for people to be critical about volunteers. If you don’t like how a volunteer org or role is going, then you need to volunteer or just be quiet. I was very involved as a volunteer with various groups related to my kids’ HS and I was stunned at how people treated us like we were paid employees.

    As far as Lacrosse — see if there are any clinics being held by various LAX groups. In our area, where there’s a sport, there’s a clinic or a camp of some sort that allow young coaches to make a little money. Perhaps your daughter can attend something like that.

  36. E February 10, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

    I should not have re-read this because it just makes me annoyed but here:

    “I am taking full blame for my tardiness” FULL STOP right here. The rest is just noise and whining.

  37. Laura February 10, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

    I don’t get it. She was late to register and put on the waiting list. Expecting special treatment and exceptions to be made is unrealistic and certainly not a real world teachable moment for her daughter.
    How is this a free-range issue?

  38. Mandy February 10, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

    Sorry Mom – you missed the boat and are trying to blame someone else for your mistake and that’s not nice.

  39. lollipoplover February 10, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

    I would also suggest (trying to be positive here) seeing if your local high school lacrosse team offers weekend workshops for girls lacrosse. Many HS teams do lacrosse clinics for team fundraisers and it’s a great way to see if your daughter likes the sport (before buying all of the equipment). If your local program doesn’t have space, try a neighboring town’s program. There are SO many youth programs to choose from- outdoors and indoors, don’t give up just because one is already full if it’s something she really wants to do.

    My kids do year-round community sports. Our leagues have sign ups going on now and do have late fees, but rarely have I heard of turning kids away, though our swim team reached capacity very early this year. Some kids even join teams when the season is already under way. The fees are reasonable and they get to play sports with their local friends from school. Most teams also offer “friend requests” so they can play with their buddies and enjoy sports. We have no girls lacrosse fields or league in our township (we would have to go to a neighboring town) so my girls will likely play softball again and baseball for the boy. I ask them every season, “Do you want to play a sport?” and then sign them up if they want to. Sports are just for fun and you will never hear these words come out of my mouth:

    “I am a disappointed, bewildered, angry mother who’s daughter has been shut out of a youth sport.”

    Yeah, no. There are PLENTY of things to get angry about. Missing the deadline for signups isn’t really that high on the list. Try softball. Or soccer. See if there’s room on the BOYS team. Be part of the solution.

    I don’t see the point of pulling out the pitchforks for this one. Sorry.

  40. Eyes Rolling February 10, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

    There are deadlines for a reason, not to shut kids out but to allow for procuring equipment, facilities, supplies, resources, game scheduling, team assignments, each player’s playtime, etc. There could be legal and insurance liability reasons too with the number of people using facilities at the same time as well. This is hardly a free-range vs. helicopter issue, by a long shot.

    There’s more to life than just one sport. Wendy should take the opportunity to discover with her daughter the hundreds of other sports and leisure activities that can equally develop her daughter and enjoy the journey. This is an opportunity for mom to teach her daughter that life has its bumps in the road, and guide her daughter to discover another activity to enjoy until she can apply on time next time.

  41. E February 10, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

    @Randy — you could tell your kid that you are going to clean the house and you need the kids to go outside for an hour. She’ll eventually find something to do.

    You could tell your kid that we’re all going outside to do yardwork, she can either help or find something else to do — outside. She’ll eventually find something to do.

    But there’s nothing wrong with a kid that doesn’t like sports. Foster her interests and get outside with her if you feel she needs to be more active. Bikes, hiking (kids LOVE hiking), geocaching, walk to the store , etc.

    Childhood does not “blow”. That’s some serious projecting there.

  42. E February 10, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

    If I’m being compassionate, I would have to guess that if my kids REALLY wanted to play lax with their friends and I missed the sign up, I’d probably be very bummed and sad and really want some miracle to take place to get them on the team.

    But that doesn’t really change the dynamics are work in regard to all the resources that go into running a league (that have been mentioned).

    When my kids had to attend summer camp at the Y, there was literally a line hours and hours before the sign up started because people didn’t want a session they want (or needed in the case of working parents) to be full. Needing child care > wanting to play lax, but the Y still had to set limits.

    I would suggest that you keep checking in with them between now and when the season begins — and even a week or so after the season starts. You might get lucky that slots open up.

  43. Dienne February 10, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

    Writing this letter is probably the worst thing she could have done. She might have had a chance had she gone hat in hand, especially if she offered to volunteer. But this is just going to provoke defensiveness, which might even make it a problem getting her daughter on next year’s team.

  44. Papilio February 10, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

    Have you ever posted something that got more “no”s than this? 🙂

  45. Joe Pankowski February 10, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

    What’s sad about this is that the mother appears to believe that youth sports are the virtual “end-all” of youth activities. Could the daughter take an after-school class? Volunteer for a charitable organization? Invite non-athletic friends over to hang out? Think of all the free time she’ll have on the weekends to read a book, attend religious services, etc., etc.

  46. Brighton, NY February 10, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

    Horrors! If they don’t get into super-organized everything as little babies, how will they have the creds for Harvard or Stanford or MIT? If only they could console themselves by playing in the street or in the park with friends! The park is off-limits to everyone except tattle-tales calling CPS or the cops. And all the other advantaged suburban kids have well-organized parents who get their kids enrolled the first day of sign-up.

    I had a similar problem with cub scouts for my son, and wound up as den leader for three years because the stay-at-home moms got heir kids signed up early and all the available slots were gone. I am a single mom, had a very demanding job, but my son really wanted to be in cubs, so I pushed for adding another den. And paid for it for three years.

    Be careful what you wish for!

  47. E February 10, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

    This is a list of resources from the boys lax website that lists places that have clinics, etc.

    “There are a number of places that players can go to brush up on their skills or just get out and play. Below are a few but not all of the options in the area. See also the web pages for summer camps and club teams. ”

  48. Steve February 10, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    The Free Range issue here is … teaching children the importance of deadlines.

    Meeting a deadline is usually the first requirement for getting what you want.

  49. Warren February 10, 2016 at 2:10 pm #


    Let’s address your points of advice.

    1. The mayor, the police chief and fire chief will direct you to the person in charge. Here the Director of Parks and Recreation, who will assure you that those on the wait list will be called on a first come first serve basis. And advise you to register on time next year. As there are only so many spots on the teams.

    2. Going to the advertisers does nothing but irritate those small businesses trying to do some good. And if enough parents start harassing them, they may in turn stop donating their money, therefore hurting the programs.

    3. Unless it is an actual church league, any clergy is absolutely powerless to do anything.

    4. If you came to me as your employer about this, I would be second guessing your position with the company. As you are displaying a lack of responsibility and want special treatment because you failed.

    5. Now as for in-laws and neighbors, unless they happen to run the Parks and Rec Dept. for you town, and are willing to ignore the rules, you are SOL.

    Now food for thought, why should your special snowflake get special treatment and by-pass all the rest on the waiting list? Why should your special snowflake get put on a team that is full and therefore take away from the playing time that the others are eligible for, because their parent’s signed them up on time?

    Let me guess, you don’t believe in keeping score, that there is winners and losers, and every child deserves a trophy? Because that is exactly what you sound like.

  50. Donna February 10, 2016 at 2:13 pm #

    Isn’t this letter a reflection of the exact Special Snowflake syndrome that we hope to avoid in our children? Mom missed the deadline, but expects everyone else to bend over backward to accommodate her kid. Suck it up Buttercup, and explain to your kid that you missed the deadline so she will not be able to play lacrosse this year and then be on time next year if kiddo still wants to play. Kid will probably be mad at mom for awhile for missing the deadline if this is something that she really wants to do, but it will pass. Kid will be disappointed, but will learn that she is not going to die from being disappointed.

    In our area the rec department sports teams basically fall into 2 categories: sports with a set number of spots due to capacity limits and team sports that will take anyone, but have firm deadlines for registration. Sports in group 1 will take kids until the number limit is met. There is no deadline, and, I assume would take kids even after the semester started if spots were available (spots fill within hours so this has never been a consideration). The team sports will take every kid who registers up until the deadline. After the deadline, no kids can register. Once registration ends, the rec department decides how many teams it needs, get coaches for the teams, assign teams, set practice and game schedules, etc. You can’t do all this if kids can just be registered willy nilly.

  51. Doug February 10, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

    Uniforms and equipment has to be ordered. It’s tough to run a league, so you have to cut off the registration date sometime. This mothers’ complaints are ridiculous. Her son DOES have to pay the price for her error. That’s just life when parents are in charge of things for kids. Waiving this rule would create chaos and a lot of extra work for volunteers.

    Unorganized play is great, but organized play requires rules to function (especially when run by volunteers who put in dozens of hours registering parents who actually cared enough to show up at the appointed times).

  52. E February 10, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

    @warren — and every single one of those (should you believe in them) indicates that this one kid deserves special treatment because of who they know. The rest of the kids (parents) that didn’t call in favors just followed the rules and are sitting on waiting list.

    So all it teachers everyone involved is that if you want it bad enough, you can try harassing enough people to get what you want.

  53. Warren February 10, 2016 at 2:21 pm #


    As for your just show up to practice crap? That will just have coaches taking you aside and telling you to leave. They have their limit, there is a waiting list for people like you, and to stop interfering with their team’s practice.

    The coaches are not going to just allow kids to join practices without being a member of the league. They are obligated to teach and coach X number of players, that are registered with the league and covered by the leagues insurance.

    We had this discussion with our softball league. One of the commissioners saw that I had 4 extra kids out on the field during practice. I explained to him that they were not practicing but helping. They would work as catchers for the pitchers, as we had more pitchers than catchers, they caught balls and tossed them to coaches during drills, so that we didn’t have a player tied up in that non essential duty. All of which was fine, but they could not actually take part in the same capacity as the player.

  54. evil mutant swim coach February 10, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

    As a coach, I do feel bad for the daughter BUT the mother was late in signing her up. There are lots of good reasons to cap the enrollment for anything. Yes, yes sports are important but there are reasons for the cap. Safety, for one. Quality of the program, for another. It IS “just” youth sports but if the team was overfull and the coach had a hard time with more kids than normal (which could become a safety issue), providing good instruction, etc.

    I run into this alllll the time with swim meets. We provide the parents plenty of notice that the final date to enter a meet is XYZ. We remind the kids. We send out e-mails. Yet parents get all bent out of shape when we cannot accommodate their child with an entry 2 days before the meet. It’s not “just one” kid who is effected by a late entry; it’s the hundreds other kids from the 10+ other team AND the officials AND…. who have to deal with it.

    Look, we understand, “Grandma died and we’re just now catching up on life” but run of the mill lateness? No, sorry, it’s on you.

    EMSC, who has four kids of her own

  55. Doug February 10, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    Huh, there’s another “Doug.” Time to change my handle. This Doug hasn’t posted in this thread yet.

  56. JulieC February 10, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

    I’m old enough to remember when sports registration flyers actually consisted of a piece of paper which oftentimes got shoved to the bottom of a backpack, only to emerge months after the deadline, covered with food particles and mildew!

    No excuses now – with email blasts, I know every time a street light goes out in my suburb of 18,000. And most, if not all, of the registration for sports takes place on line, with multiple reminders via email about deadlines. Missed the deadline? Sorry, but a place on the wait list is an awfully nice option to have.

    And i agree with others about the other Julie’s suggestions – those ideas all smack of entitlement to me. Definitely not a free range issue.

  57. Workshop February 10, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

    There. Let’s see if that helps.

  58. pentamom February 10, 2016 at 2:34 pm #

    Julie, you’re basically trying to explain to us that people aren’t special snowflakes because there are ways that people can push others around to treat them like special snowflakes.

    People who miss deadlines are not special snowflakes. People who think that deadlines are for the little people and everybody in the county should mvoe heaven and earth to let their kid play anyway, are special snowflakes.

  59. Andrea February 10, 2016 at 2:35 pm #

    I don’t get it — all the spots on the team are filled. Surely she understand that not everyone can play, right?

    I agree that it’s a shame that she can’t just send her kid out to play with her friends, but that’s not really the fault of programs that only have enough resources for so many players. Just because she’s been able to sign up late for other leagues doesn’t mean she can sign up late for every league. Next time she needs to register on time and, yes, if she doesn’t, her daughter is the one who loses out. That’s part of being a parent, is that your actions affect your children.

    Wendy’s sense of entitlement is a bit disconcerting.

  60. Tom February 10, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

    ” tardiness in regards to enrollment…” You give your regards to Broadway. “In regard to.”

  61. lollipoplover February 10, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

    “These days, if a kid is not in organized sports, there is nothing else for him or her to do, since kids don’t organize their own games anymore.”

    Organized sports are a fraction of my children’s play time.
    It’s the DEAD of winter here and my girls have basketball with one practice and one game a week. That’s 2 hours of time each week for a rec sport, not a huge commitment. So they have many other activities they do:
    crafting, reading, sewing, photography, cooking, baking, walking dogs, playing with pets, taking photos of pets in costumes, sledding, ice skating, skiing, snow forts, snow basketball (fun!), hockey, fire building, schoolwork, movies, building snowmen….I could go on and on.

    My mother gave me the best advice: “Don’t try and make a happy child happier.”
    Find hobbies, activities, and sports your child enjoys doing and don’t over-complicate their childhood or treat a missed deadline for a sign up like it’s a war on childhood. It’s 2 hours out of her week. There are other things to try that she might enjoy if lacrosse doesn’t happen this year.

  62. Jen February 10, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

    I have coached my daughter’s basketball team the past few years. Year 1 we had 13 girls — too many to all get quality play time. I was given the choice to coach all 13 or find another parent crazy enough to coach and then split them up. That’s a lot to place on a 1st time volunteer. We had several kids ask to play once they saw the girls playing. . .but we couldn’t add any more to our team. And, it was too late to split them off into two teams since the league schedule had already been developed. I would have let every kid play who wanted to — but there was just no way to make it happen. I think most volunteers and rec directors would be more than happy to accommodate every kid that wants to play — but I’m with the other commenters. Sometimes wanting isn’t enough–there are often logistical barriers such as # of coaches, available practice space, schedules coordinated among multiple teams and towns.

    Its sad to see a mom resort to public shaming — a tactic that is becoming all to common lately — in an attempt to humiliate the rec coordinator who, in all reality, would probably like to help but has her hands tied by factors that are not under her control.

  63. Jen February 10, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

    . . .and, if she sounded tired and unhelpful, it might be because yours was the umpteenth “entitlement” call that she got that week. A little kindness goes a long way.

  64. Andrea February 10, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

    “As adults it is our responsibility to nurture and assist kids and families not scoff at and belittle them.”

    @Julie – does that responsibility apply to the people who don’t have access to that list of people you provided, or is it only the people who have those connections who should be entitled to that help and the rest, well, too bad for them?

    And it takes an incredibly entitled special snowflake to believe the people on that list don’t have more important things in their lives than spending their time getting someone ahead of others on the waitlist because they didn’t make signing up for that league a priority.

  65. pentamom February 10, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

    “As adults it is our responsibility to nurture and assist kids and families not scoff at and belittle them.”

    That sentence is true in the abstract, but the way you’re applying it suggests that no member of a family can actually ever do anything wrong and is always beyond criticism.

    This woman is approaching the situation wrong. It’s as simple as that. In doing so, she’s giving lip service to taking responsibility while ultimately failing to do so, personalizing the situation, and completely ignoring the fact that her request either assumes infinite resources on the part of the league to accommodate any kid who would ever wish to sign up until the last possible moment, or assumes that her kid is special enough to be accommodated when others can’t be. This is an attitude that deserves to be criticized, and it’s hard to criticize such an attitude without coming off as belittling because the attitude is so unbecoming, but I agree, belittling should be avoided when possible.

  66. Kenny Felder February 10, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

    I’m not seeing the “Free Range” angle here. Whoever runs this program–presumably a few (or no) paid staff and a lot of generous volunteers–set a cutoff date, and the program filled up by that date, and now other people are trying to get in. No harm in asking, but I can’t see blaming the organization for saying “We’re full.” These things take a lot of work and planning.

    Mrs. Thurmond argues that sports are wonderful and healthy and so on, and no one disagrees. And then she goes from there to “You–you there, that lady sitting over there–you *OWE* my daughter this sport.” That feels like the opposite of free range to me. You, Mrs. Thurmond–you and your daughter–organize some neighbors and let the game begin!

  67. Andrea February 10, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

    lolipoplover makes a great point.

    Where we live going to the park isn’t an option 6 months out of the year (too cold), even if doing so unsupervised wasn’t “almost illegal.” But that also doesn’t mean kids who aren’t involved in organized sports have no choice but to sit on the couch all day instead.

    My parents took us bowling, to indoor mini golf, and roller skating, and we also played at home a lot, building forts, performing a play we wrote, playing with dolls, building things with hammers and nails, etc. Now there are even more options for unorganized activities than even when I was a kid. Our neighbor’s two young kids spent the last month at home after school writing, directing, and filming a play with a smartphone. It was incredible cute (and well done), and involved no adults at all. So I have to disagree with Lenore’s point that playing unsupervised at the park, playing organized sports, and sitting on the couch are Wendy’s daughter’s only options.

  68. JulieH February 10, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

    Pentamom’s comment in response to Julie’s quote “As adults it is our responsibility to nurture and assist kids and families not scoff at and belittle them.” got me thinking.

    Reading through the comments, folks are just calling it like they see it (or for the politically incorrect, calling a spade a spade…which if you research the origins has everything to do with bad translations and nothing to do with race).

    So Julie thinks that those of us who see this as someone expecting special treatment are all out of line but that it is ok for WENDY to VERY PUBLICALLY *SCOFF* at the leagues rules/needs/etc. and BELITTLE the organizer she spoke with. Interesting…

  69. Donna February 10, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

    And Wendy’s sense of entitlement isn’t just limited to lacrosse. By her own statement, she signs her kids up late for activities somewhat regularly. This is not a one-time, slipped-my-mind occurrence, but a routine lack of organization. She seems to have no understanding that accommodating her son previously likely put a strain on limited resources. She doesn’t appreciate the fact that this was an extremely nice, and not at all mandatory thing for previous organizations to do. She has no sense of gratefulness about it at all.

    Wendy has given us a classic example as to why these deadlines should be strictly adhered to at all times, even if you could easily work in another child — the second you let someone slide once, that person will then expect to be accommodated every time and will blame you when the situation doesn’t allow accommodation.

    I understand screwing things up and wanting to make it right to avoid disappointing your child with your own ineptitude. I would have asked to get my kid on the team too. I don’t fault Wendy for that. I do fault her for trying to shame the league that won’t accommodate her special request.

  70. Lisa February 10, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

    Sounds like she was late and is blaming it on others. As someone who is often late, I think she needs to just sick it up and be on time next time. There are rules and deadlines for a reason.

  71. Warren February 10, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

    What about the rest of the kids on the waiting list? Does Wendy expect to jump past them, or should they all get spots on teams? So now instead of each team having enough players and a few extra to rotate through, the teams could essentially have double the players. Resulting in a few problems.

    1. Now kids actual playing time is cut in half.
    2. League has to raise the cost of sponsorship, for what is usually local small businesses, to allow for more uniforms, equipment and field time.Yes field time, because their are leagues that have to rent the field time off of the municipality.
    3. Possibly make more teams, requiring more coaches, more sponsors, more fields, more officials, more equipment and so on.
    4. A larger season schedule that will put a strain on field time for all the other leagues in the area.

    But hey, Wendy didn’t have to admit to her kid that she screwed the pooch. Oh wait she isn’t doing that now, she is blaming everyone else.

  72. MichelleB February 10, 2016 at 3:32 pm #

    Based on the headline of this post, I clicked through expecting to see some horrible thing that the lady had done to the writer’s eight-year-old daughter.

    She told the mother that there was a deadline.

    The only one who shut that little girl out of lacrosse was her own mother.

    (My kid have never played team sports — is there a high demand for coaches who have never played the game?)

  73. BL February 10, 2016 at 3:58 pm #

    “is there a high demand for coaches who have never played the game?”

    In sports that are growing, yes. There aren’t enough adults around who played them before they grew.

  74. JulieH February 10, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

    @Michelle – There can be demand for coaches with no experience with the sport…usually, though, we are talking for pretty young kids. Sometimes communities will offer clinics to give those folks the basics.

    Personally, I had never played soccer. It wasn’t that big of a sport when I was young, either. I started coaching soccer when my oldest daughter started in the 3-4yo group. Proper soccer skills not required for kids that age, really. The focus is on having fun, learning to go the right way, learning to move your body while moving a ball around, what it means to be part of a team, some of the basic rules like boundary lines and no hands, and listening to the coach.

    It didn’t take much reading on my part to learn about the right parts of the foot to use to dribble and kick a ball. We just played a lot of fun games to get the kids there. As my kids got older, I studied more and figured out more and was able to develop a good enough skill level myself to coach through 10yo. Although I was one of the most requested coaches in the league, I refused to coach beyond that age – I just didn’t have the technical skill to teach the kids after that.

    I would think, though, that lacrosse wouldn’t fit well into this kind of a situation because of the specialized skills and starting with older kids. With soccer…well, everyone has kicked a ball around at some time in their life…

  75. lollipoplover February 10, 2016 at 4:09 pm #

    “Warren and Lollipoplover you are off the mark. I’m a team Mom for the soccer leagues that play on the field across the street from my house and am here to tell you there is ALWAYS room for more.”

    Except when there are limited volunteer coaches to give the players the proper instruction or play time in games. So you were a team Mom for soccer, so this makes you an expert on ratios of coaches to players and field schedules, and team organization?

    I played high school lacrosse, college lacrosse, and played on a club team post college until I had kids. Last year I played in a charity game with a bunch of high school and college players and didn’t die.
    Lacrosse is an awesome game. It is also a game that has hard, plastic balls whizzing through the air at high speeds. Girls lacrosse players only wears eye and mouth guards- no protective pads like boys lacrosse.
    If my girls wanted to play it I would sign them up, but I honestly don’t think developmentally they are ready for it. I didn’t start playing until middle school.

    You say there’s ALWAYS room for one more. Lacrosse isn’t that kind of sport. It involves high impact balls, checking, fast running and maneuvering, and occasional collisions. They have their cut offs and limits for a reason.

  76. anonymous mom February 10, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

    As a teacher, I sympathize with the “gate-keeper” here. There is a BIG difference between a child being “shut out” because they aren’t great at a sport or don’t have a huge amount of experience with it and a child not being able to sign up because they missed the deadline. If you start making exceptions to deadlines, especially when the reason given is just that the person didn’t get around to it (not that they had some sort of actual, documented emergency that made meeting it impossible), then you may as well have no deadlines.

    I have, in the past, learned about cool things it would have been fun for my kids to participate in after the deadline. In a couple of cases, if it was just a few days later, I did e-mail to inquire if it was possible to still register, but that was with the expectation that they would likely NOT have a space for me, and if they did it was because they had insufficient enrollment up to that point. If the deadline had passed by more than a week or so, I filed it away in my memory for something to sign up for the next year. I would certainly not expect, if an activity had already filled up, that we’d be allowed in after the deadline, and I absolutely would not blame the person who had the unfortunate job of enforcing the rules for the results of my negligence.

    This may be an opportunity for the mom to organize an informal weekly lacrosse game that her daughter can play in with neighborhood friends, or something along those lines. It’s also an opportunity to teach your daughter to handle disappointment well: What else can she do this spring–maybe another group activity, maybe an individual project–since lacrosse is no longer an option? But the “gate-keeper” here is not the villain. Whether you think the deadline is reasonable or not, it’s the deadline: I doubt you’d think to miss a deadline at work and then just tell your boss, “Well, I thought the deadline was too early.” And if this woman makes an exception for one child to register after the deadline, then suddenly she has no reason to disallow any late sign-ups, and that’s going to lead to a lot of chaos and confusion for the volunteers trying to organize this.

  77. Warren February 10, 2016 at 4:15 pm #


    Funny how fast we find out we are old when playing against the younger generation. Couple of years ago we had the ice rented for an hour of preseason skating and practice, right after one of the junior teams practiced. They wanted more time and asked us to play them a fun non-contact game.

    I lived, but damn I was some sore the next day, and feeling really really old.

  78. E February 10, 2016 at 4:22 pm #

    Wendy, here’s your “to do” for this week. Talk to your kids about what activities/sports they might possibly want to participate in for the next 12 months. Research those sign up dates and put them on your calendar — AND put a reminder in your smart phone for the first date of sign up. With today’s technology, you should never need to worry about being late again.

    I suspect (as someone else has pointed out) that your letter that calls out the league and your child by their last name, will not help you in regard to signing up with them. Your tone implies that whomever the “gatekeeper” is does not care about your child nor making “the world a better place”. Please remember this person has chosen to be involved youth sports organization. Clearly they are interested in having kids play sports.

    I’m sure if you sole concern is your daughter participating in a sport, you have dozens more to choose from this spring.

  79. JulieH February 10, 2016 at 4:32 pm #


    Ha! I even have things in my smart phone for the year 2019 which were added 2 years ago. A professor at a college told me about a program for HS seniors that would interest my daughter…into the calendar it went.

  80. E February 10, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

    @JulieH! What a great idea for something that might otherwise drop off your radar that far in advance.

    I’m actually more of a paper calendar person for immediate things, but for the thing I absolutely don’t want to forget, I put in the phone/google calendar as well. The electronic calendars are actually made to the “not super organized Moms”.


  81. Donald February 10, 2016 at 4:43 pm #

    The term, “Through the baby out with the bathwater” comes to mind.

    ……I thought youth sports were supposed to be fun and inclusive, a chance for young kids to be exposed to various sports. In fact, the girls lacrosse website in my town says its “mission is to promote girls lacrosse in an environment that emphasizes fun, while developing skills, teamwork, good sportsmanship and integrity.”

  82. Donna February 10, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

    “Warren and Lollipoplover you are off the mark. I’m a team Mom for the soccer leagues that play on the field across the street from my house and am here to tell you there is ALWAYS room for more.”

    Even if there is room for more, why exactly should the league allow it absent a good reason for the lateness? If you are going to allow people to sign-up whenever they want, why have a deadline at all? Just let everyone come whenever it is convenient for them. Who cares if it is inconvenient for the organization.

  83. lollipoplover February 10, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

    @Warren- When I showed up for the charity game and saw that I would play against HS and college players, my 12 year-old daughter said, “Mom, you’re going to get killed.” Nice to have that vote of confidence, but she was right. I went back to the car and got my insurance ID card to have her hold, in case I got hurt! These old bones aren’t what they used to be. I actually played well (but subbed myself out for the younger players) and could barely walk the next day (thank you, Advil).

    What bothers me most is the blame placed on the “gatekeeper”, who is probably the volunteer youth age coordinator, the most awful volunteer position. They get to deal with the crazed parents who insist that Chutney gets place on the same team as Kale and try to make everyone happy with team and coach requests for practice times and game schedules. And they get very publicly shamed for just doing their lowly volunteer job for a girls sports league. If they are even volunteering, clearly, they support girls in youth sports.

    I would love to see more Moms volunteer to coach and be role models for young female athletes. There are way more dads who volunteer to coach (at least where we live) and these girls. If this was my daughter, i would get away from the keyboard and get involved as a volunteer to make a positive impact on my daughter’s life. There are many ways to build confidence in young girls. Get involved and give back instead of pointing fingers and finding blame.

  84. K February 10, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

    I didn’t read every single comment. But I have little sympathy for this mother. My husband and I run the soccer program for our kids’ school. I was approached by a mom late, wanting to sign her child up and I said yes, but then she told all her friends and they wanted to do the same. I finally started saying no, the team is full, but at that point there were 20 kids on a soccer team that plays 8v8. It was an absolute challenge for the coaches to rotate that many kids in and out of games. Next season, there will be at capacity numbers that I will not budge on. It’s not fair to our volunteer coaches, to the kids who signed up on time or to myself and my husband, who put in hundreds of hours organizing and being involved.

    Leagues have deadlines for a reason. Our season doesn’t start until September, but we have to commit to the league in July and file team registration in August. We need time to scout places to practice (as a city school we don’t have athletic fields) and time to raise the money to pay for park permits, referee fees,etc. Uniforms need to be ordered by a certain date. I was absolutely amazed by the number of parents who came to me after the season had started, asking if their kid could play. Despite plenty of communication from the school, starting in April, about the program.

    The letter writer seems to have no idea the amount of effort it takes to run a successful sports program. For every late registrant the “gatekeeper” lets in, there’s five more behind her. Be an adult and sign up on time next year.

  85. Sherri February 10, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

    I think mom should just chalk this up as lesson learned. I was also late registering my son the first year he played soccer. Luckily there was still room on a team for him, but I did have to pay a hefty late registration penalty. I knew for the next time to find out ahead of time when registration would be and show up on that day. I also know that if my kids aren’t registered for summer camp by noon on January 5th they won’t get into the one they want because it will be full. It has nothing to do with free range at all.

  86. Warren February 10, 2016 at 5:18 pm #


    In many of our leagues we will on the registration have a box to check if you want siblings on the same team, mostly for travel and scheduling ease. Other than that the teams are a semi random filling.

    What we do is rank all the players from the previous years 1 through 5. 5 being the highest skill set. Then after the registration DEADLINE, we get together and pick/make the teams up. What we try to do is place the same number of 5’s, 4’s and so on, on every team. Each team getting a total at the end that is pretty much the same as every other team. Then we place the new players. This is to try and make each team as equal as possible, so that one team doesn’t just run away with it all.

  87. E February 10, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

    My final “contribution” is in response to this:

    “To the woman who shut my daughter out…”

    I’ll ignore the part where it seems pertinent (it’s not) that the lax staffer is identified as a “lady” and “woman”. Something about that doesn’t sit with me, but let’s move along.

    “To the woman who shut my daughter out…”

    The staffer did no. such. thing. She followed the guidelines and rules set up by the organization. I’ve worked for these groups. Believe it or not, these things are discussed. Believe it or not, they actually have planning to do. You should go back to the org, tell them you’d like to be involved and offer to work their next tournament. You will learn a LOT about how these orgs work and what other parents “expect” of them.

    I used to joke with a friend of mine who volunteered for many of the same HS groups as I. “No good deed goes unpunished” is never truer when you volunteer your time and people still come and complain.

    My favorite was when a local business donated pom poms to the student section for homecoming football. I was asked to help hand them out, and that the business wanted them to go to the students (not enough for all fans). Well some other HS kid was also helping us and gave them out to whoever. A parent (of a younger kid that had gotten the pom pom from the HSer) came over and gave me what-for for not letting him have one for his kid earlier. A) he never said it was for a young child, B) the kid had gotten the damn thing already, and C) I was just doing what the person who laid out the money asked.

    I started responding to any kind of complaint in my HS volunteering with “ a volunteer…..” so that would become part of the conversation.

    (I also got a complaint because someone sold the last piece of pizza from the concession stand and they had asked someone to hold it for their cheerleader and keep it in the warmer lol)

  88. andy February 10, 2016 at 5:32 pm #

    @Donna “Even if there is room for more, why exactly should the league allow it absent a good reason for the lateness?”

    In my experience (e.g. how it works locally), a sport would always take you in even after deadline if there is a place. First, most of cost is fixed which means if they fill empty spot, they have more money and same expenses. They are not rich, so it matters. They do not care about your lateness and organizational skills nearly as much. Second, they tend to be nice people and are willing to do a bit extra when you are nice to them first. They are organizing the sport because they are enthusiastic about it and earn very little money on that.

    Deadline is when they want most people to sign in and will arrange rooms/coaches/cancel league/etc based on how many people sign up at that time. If you don’t sign up at deadline, you risk not getting in due to lack of spots.

  89. JulieC February 10, 2016 at 5:37 pm #

    E – I love your stories. I, too, volunteered a ton when my kids were in school. I chaired our auction three times and was also a PTA president. I always loved the people who would call and offer a suggestion – as in, “you know, the PTA really needs to do X” or, “why isn’t the auction committee doing Y”. My standard response was, “that’s a fantastic idea! I’d love for you to get involved and help take on that task. Our next meeting is on Tuesday.”

    You can guess how many times they showed up to actually help. They much preferred to have someone else do the job.

  90. andy February 10, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

    @Julie You would contact advertiser and essentially blackmail the youth sport just because your kid got into waiting list after being sign up late? That is seriously just … wow.

    And the bits about calling police chief and pastor are ridiculous too. A cop would come to make sure a league take in a kid and the kid jumps the waiting list? I get that connections and networking can open doors and get you exceptions nobody else has, but engaging in all that because of one season of youth sport is like very definition of overly protective helicopter parenting.

  91. Sandi February 10, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

    If this is your first exposure to youth sports, welcome! you’ll find it’s a lot more organized, intense, and fraught than you remember from when you were a child.
    When the numbers enrolled exceed the coaches/fields/time available to play, there will be a waitlist. Get enough kids on the waitlist, you can make a case to the town that more fields need to be made available, or round up some more coaches. Go and watch some practices and games. If a team is full, they might let your daughter practice with them, and maybe fill in for them if they are short players for a game (happens a lot in vacation season with rec sports). There might be younger (or older) siblings on the sidelines that you can chuck a ball around with. Make some connections, learn a bit more about the sport, and make a note on the calendar to check the webisite for signup dates next January.

  92. John Skogstrom February 10, 2016 at 6:11 pm #

    Maybe suggest a “free-agent list.” If a girl gets injured, can’t make a particular game or games, etc., the coach replaces her for the given games with the girl at the top of the free-agent list. Your daughter might get a few weeks’ play, or if she’s top of the list, I’d guess she’d eventually stick on a roster.

  93. Donna February 10, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

    Andy – I know that leagues will sometimes add kids later if they have space. However, there is no reason that they MUST do so. They could simply choose not to do it to avoid this exact behavior. The only reason that we are reading this is because this mother has been repeatedly allowed to register her son for sports late. If they had told her no, the first time she would have either started paying closer attention to registration dates or would have different expectations when she didn’t.

  94. John February 10, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

    Free range kids shouldn’t be the forum for this crybaby mom.To paraphrase Woody Allen said, 80% of success is showing up (on time).

  95. John February 10, 2016 at 7:54 pm #

    Isn’t free range philosophy about teaching responsibility?

  96. BL February 10, 2016 at 9:25 pm #

    “I know that leagues will sometimes add kids later if they have space. However, there is no reason that they MUST do so. They could simply choose not to do it to avoid this exact behavior.”

    Someone else mentioned late fees. Not a bad idea for this sort of situation. Fill the space, discourage the lateness.

  97. CrazyCatLady February 10, 2016 at 11:04 pm #

    Disappointing to be sure. So, be like the basketball player who didn’t make the team, and practice this year. And then…find some other things to increase confidence. Join a birding club. Join a rock club. Get a book about wild flowers, trees and plants in your area, and go walk and find them. Join a photography club and combine that with the plants and walking. Enter the results into your local fair this summer if competition is important to her.

    Find a Lego club, book club, knitting or sewing group. Build some bird houses, bat houses. Plant a butterfly garden. Gets some books from the library on building tiny houses and forts, and then help your daughter find scrap lumber on Craig’s List and teach her how to use some tools to make a fort of her design in the backyard. (Check local zoning, usually something under 10′ x 10′ doesn’t need a permit.) Make a chicken coop and get and care for a few chickens this spring and summer. Plan and plant a flower or vegetable garden. Make a pole-bean fort. Learn to code. Find a girls coding group.

    Go and walk animals at the shelter. Go and play checkers or cards with seniors in a nursing home. Go and interview the seniors about what they did when they were kids and type it out and make a book and give it back to them so they can share with their families. Learn some magic tricks and present them at the nursing home.

    All of these are things that your daughter can do that can increase confidence. As can just playing with friends in the neighborhood after school and before dinner. She is only 8 once…let her play and find adventure. And if she wants, she can spend a quarter of an hour a day throwing a lacrosse ball against a wall and catching it. And if she really wants something else…show her the list above and see what she is interested in doing. And for you, right now, put the opening date for sign ups in your electronic calendar right now.

  98. Jane February 11, 2016 at 1:54 am #

    This reminds me of the saying “poor planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part.” Mom (perhaps from everyone-gets-a-trophy generation and whose parents “fixed” everything for her?) wants to blame the horrible lacrosse lady because she didn’t sign her daughter up in time. Boo hoo.

    Having coached in the past, as well as serving as a board member, planning youth sports is a pain because multiple groups are all wanting access to a limited number of playing fields. If there are only x number of fields that can accommodate x number of practices and games that affects the number of kids who can play. Additionally, uniforms and equipment have to be ordered months in advance, coaches and officials procured (always in short supply) and so on.

    In the meantime, she can enroll her daughter in summer lacrosse camps and clinics so she will obtain the basic skills to play next season. And be on time for sign-ups.

  99. Donna February 11, 2016 at 7:23 am #

    BL – Late fees only solve the problem until teams are full and kids are turned away. If you allow enrollment with late fees, people will come to expect that they can register whenever as long as they can pay the extra money. They will then draft letters like this when that can’t happen due to capacity issues.

    It seems to me, based on what was said and what someone posted above after reading the organization’s website, that the mother was turned away because the teams are all full to capacity, not just because she tried to register late. Yet she is still bitching and insisting that an already full team should take her child.

  100. andy February 11, 2016 at 7:36 am #

    @Donna Letters like this are not because lateness. They are because entitlement and idea that it is ok to use social pressure and public shaming to get what you want. Overwhelming majority of late people, including chronically late, don’t write letters like this.

    Meanwhile, this mom is likely to use the same tactic when she does not get her way no matter what the reason for rejection. If her daughter would not be rejected, mom would be pressuring the coach over something else (equipment, order of playing, how much they sit on bench, training being too hard or not hard enough, whatever).

    You can reject all late application and when she gets into the team next year, moms personality and tactic would still be exactly as it is now.

  101. Aliza Burton February 11, 2016 at 8:21 am #

    I feel two ways about this. Yes, her daughter should be able to be in lacrosse. But, as her mom she should have gotten her in on time. If it was that important, you make it a priority. That’s what you do as a parent. Coaches have to plan ahead, that’s probably why there’s a deadline to begin with. Use a calendar and put important dates on it. And be on time. And don’t make excuses for yourself.

  102. lollipoplover February 11, 2016 at 10:01 am #

    @andy and Donna- The late fees (and early registration discounts) are mainly used to get players enrolled and organized by a set date. It is a PIA to keep reworking these teams as players aren’t registered by deadlines. It truly inconveniences so many volunteers, that is why the penalize it, but they WANT players to try their league so they allow it to happen. Sometimes kids change their minds too and find out a bunch of their friends joined the league and now they want to try play, so you pay the late fee and get added to a team.

    It’s kind of like RSVPing to a party- so many folks don’t do it or let you know when their on their way over. I’ve hosted many parties and I truly can’t stand those who just show up without letting you know, putting a strain on all the guests who had the courtesy to give advanced notice so you could have enough food and wine for everyone. And then you have the family of eaters show up and demolish your buffet and drink all of your wine and beer, sending you on liquor runs for your other guests.

    @Warren- We do the player evaluations too (5,4,3, 2) and try to keep teams even so there are no *stacked* teams. Honestly, most of the girls I’ve coached are 3’s. The 5’s and 4’s are usually plucked away early for travel teams and you have a bunch of mediocre yet enthusiastic learners who joined to have a good youth sport experience. My view of organized sports is that this is THEIR playtime. Playing sports teaches so many great skills but one of the biggest benefits is being part of a team. I let the kids run the stretching exercises, pick games/drills they enjoy, and name secret plays with funny names to confuse their opponents. These will be the things they remember- not the scores of the game. Most of the younger leagues don’t even keep score (though the girls totally do).

    We also honor almost all friend requests (at least I do). Some are for carpool reasons, others are just friends who want to play together. So I let them pick teams vs. putting them on random teams, separated from their best friends. Maybe this is a girl thing, but most of my girls would rather play sports with their friends than win the game. It’s more of a social experience than a hard-core athletic one (for most of the rec league teams I’ve coached) and I respect that and allow them to make the sport something they enjoy doing with people they want to be with.

  103. Donna February 11, 2016 at 10:45 am #

    andy – Lateness itself is not the force behind this letter, but her previous repeated ability to be accommodated when she is late is. It is why she is so bothered by not being allowed to enroll late this time. It probably also plays a major part in why she doesn’t make it a point to register by the deadline. She mentions it in the letter and goes out of her way to make it seem like this is a boy/girl sports issue. They make a place for late boys on the team, but not girls. I strongly believe that had she been told no the first time she tried to register boy late, she would not be this bent out of shape by girl being wait listed.

  104. Joanne February 11, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    Aside from Westwood being a snooty town, I don’t see the issue – seriously, the Youth Sports Director needs to get over herself

    This mom is offering to Volunteer – now, unless they have absurd Adult:Youth ratios in Westwood Youth Sports, it seems to me this mom’s participation would allow a few additional wait list kids in addition to her daughter to participate

    Really, this is absurd – feel badly for what this mom & daughter are going through – you seem to have lost the battle but hopefully you will win the war in the end – escalate the issue to the Town Board of Selectmen – even if they don’t decide in your favor, it will be a matter of record what you experienced which may help others in future

    Take Care

  105. pentamom February 11, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

    ” escalate the issue to the Town Board of Selectmen – even if they don’t decide in your favor, it will be a matter of record what you experienced which may help others in future”

    Oh, my goodness, this is exactly the lesson her kids do NOT need.

    If you fail to do something, whether out of innocent mistake, have a crisis-filled week, or sheer lack of concern for meeting deadlines, and a polite request for an exception does not fix it, you can get the town board to force people to make an exception for you if you make enough noise.

    I feel a great disturbance in the force, as though a million voices of teachers, school administrators, college professors, and registrars cried out in agony.

  106. JulieH February 11, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

    Wendy offered to volunteer as a coach TO US in the “open letter.” She didn’t say if she actually offered that to the gatekeeper. She also ASSUMED that the reason for the capacity issue is a shortage of coaches – she doesn’t say that she actually took the time to find out what the needs/reasons were. And as other commenters have noted, there are many other things that could be forcing their hands – field space, equipment availability, safety, etc.

  107. andy February 11, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

    @lollipoplover It is a bit off-topic, but I did not knew what RSVP means for years. I did not even knew it has special meaning and it never occurred to me to investigate. Maybe it is a common knowledge in your area, but if there are people like me, then writing it in full may result in higher compliance.

  108. JulieH February 11, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

    Nice thought, Andy. But I would have to say that doesn’t help. For the various events I plan, I always clearly put that RSVP means to let me know either way, yes or no…doesn’t help a bit.

  109. Laura February 11, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

    This is just weird and a strange reason to write an open letter…. She was too late. These things are run by volunteers. It’s not their fault if there are loads of girls signing up, or not enough volunteers. Bizarre to get so worked up about it.

  110. Maggie in VA February 11, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

    Totally feel for this mom, as it’s so hard to stay on top of deadlines, which are often exasperatingly early, for different activities. Still, it is on her, and one season of not playing Lacrosse will not kill her daughter. For starters, she could post an ad seeing if there are other girls who were shut out and start an informal group to develop skills, which seems reasonable for 8yo’s.

  111. David (Dhewco) February 11, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

    I would love to coach youth sports, but I get weird looks when I try to watch youth sports without having a kid of my own. I would love to coach LL because LL was among my happiest memories of childhood and I’d love to be a part of that for someone else.

    I wonder if adults are seeing youth sports as a trial to get through and not as something someone would do if they didn’t have to. Someone must be demented to want to watch kids play or help them play their sports. I also wonder if the 80s and 90s movies featuring a coach as a perv has colored people’s subconscious. Gone is the day when people believe childless unmarried volunteers could enjoy helping kids because they have positive motives.

    Sorry about the shift in topic, but someone earlier made a comment about declining numbers of coaches or a limited number and it brought up the above thought.

  112. James Pollock February 11, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

    ” I also wonder if the 80s and 90s movies featuring a coach as a perv has colored people’s subconscious. ”

    I’m sure it didn’t help, but the problem is false logic.

    Most cases of child sexual abuse involve people who had trusted access to children. Parents, step-parents, other family members, clergy, teachers, coaches, neighbors.

    But the logic doesn’t work the other way… most people who have trusted access to children are not child sex abusers. But if you’re the suspicious sort…”why are you seeking trusted access to my kids” is an easy question to ask. That kind of thinking helps close to nobody, but… it’s far too common.

    That said, I don’t think that’s the real reason why adult coaches tend to be hard to find. I think it’s the time commitment. You have to be really dedicated to commit the kind of time proper coaching for a full sports season requires (much less the general trend to year-round schedules for people who are serious about sports (and some other things that are not sports, but have a similar dynamic.)

  113. Suze February 11, 2016 at 3:25 pm #

    Well, she was late signing up her daughter and now she whines. Sorry … Put her in something else. Honestly? I doubt she won’t be missing being in lacrosse. I hope it’s changed some as it is such a wild man sport and it seemed the coaching overlooked this. Good players were literally attacked (think a Tonia Harding/Nancy Kerrigan thing) wacked mercilessly across the shins to ‘put them out.’ The dirty play to this game was non-stop when I played back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. BUT …. I don’t know as if the volunteer who e-mailed her back was appropriate. She could have been less callous about it all.

  114. lollipoplover February 11, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

    My personal experience with lack of coaches is with girls sports. Actually, there are quite a few single, childless guys who have coached my son over the years, mostly in sports like wrestling and soccer. One was a 23 year-old soccer star from Liberia who worked as a skills trainer for my son’s team (and many others) to send money back to his family. One of the most amazing players and inspiring stories (fleeing a war-torn country to teach soccer in the US). He also had recent college grad coaches who loved the sport of wrestling and coached him over the years. His current coach is a crotchety old man who yells at them like Rocky Balboa’s trainer Mickey. It’s fun to watch different generations coach him and teach him different things. With baseball, it’s usually one of the player’s dads.
    There’s nothing wrong with going to a local little league or whatever sport you love and telling them why you love the sport and if they need any help.

  115. David (Dhewco) February 11, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

    Maybe it’s just my area and my own paranoia, but that hasn’t been my experience. I tried to attend a LL game a few years back and five people (two of whom knew me) asked me who I knew on the team. When I told them I was watching the game because I felt nostalgic and thought about volunteering…I wasn’t treated with much warmth, I could say. I got raised eyebrows, cautious glances, and a weird vibe off them.

    Like I say, it could be me.

    Here’s a short story. When I was a teenager, there was a neighbor boy who really looked up to me. Always walked down the dirt road to say high and see what I was doing. Initially, it irritated me but I grew to see the boy as a little brother. He lived with his cousins, but prefered to spend time with me.

    We were placed in the same seat on the bus and we had a good time talking about whatever the boy wanted to talk about. Sometimes, however, he wanted to take a nap on the way home and would lay his head in my lap and snooze for the hour long bus ride. To me, it was a sweet tender moment. I’d never had someone look up to me that way and I treasured these bus rides. After a few days of this, I began to notice the bus driver would stare at us through her mirror when she stopped and a sometimes when she was still rolling. Within three months, she moved him without warning or explanation. She moved no one else. I was left with no one in my seat.

    I later learned from him and his grandmother that the driver thought it suspicious that a teenager would be so friendly toward a kid who wasn’t related. She thought there was something wrong with me. She wanted to make sure the grandmother asked ‘those’ questions and verified that nothing had happened. I feel very lucky that nobody else actually thought that. This was in the age of all kinds of false accusations and trials.

    Anyway, I’m willing to admit that that experience colors how I feel about the way people perceive me. That’s why I call myself paranoid. I can’t shake the feeling that most people are that bus driver. Seeing evil where none exists.

  116. David (Dhewco) February 11, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

    Again, my apologies for hijacking the thread. Thanks for listening to my nonsense.


  117. Warren February 11, 2016 at 5:33 pm #


    We discussed our friends placement and came up with the policy that first year players could request to play on a friend’s team. After that and with great parental support we don’t see it as separating friends, but as giving the players chances to make new friends.

  118. Warren February 11, 2016 at 5:46 pm #


    Go for it. Bring it before the board, what we call council here. The moment you say you missed the deadline, they will politely ask you to step aside. Council is there to address town problems, not your personal problems with time management.

    And people like you and Wendy volunteering after the fact means absolutely nothing. You are not reliable enough to meet a deadline for enrollment, how the hell can they depend on you to meet your volunteer obligations.
    You want to volunteer? Great. What Wendy did was not volunteering, it was bargaining and bribery.

  119. HKQ451 February 12, 2016 at 4:31 am #

    For any individual team or league, I don’t think it’s a problem that there is a deadline or a limit on numbers or some other thing that means that you have to get in early and might miss out anyway. But I think it is a problem when it’s the vast majority of children’s activities and when there aren’t enough good quality children’s activities. Charitable and mission driven organizations in particular ought to consider providing more casual activities, especially for younger children, with less commitment required at beginner levels.

    In particular needing to be very organized or sign up to longer terms in order to access good quality child activities will hit the vulnerable the most – those with chaotic lives are least likely to be able to commit months in advance. This has knock on effects on children’s ability to compete as they get older, with already disadvantaged children becoming relatively more disadvantaged because the structures in our society support other people’s lives more than they support their own.

    But also for those with a free range ethos, needing to commit to pretty much any activity months in advance and for long periods of time, possibly before your child knows anything about it, makes it harder for children to explore lots of different activities and direct their own commitment. Up front commitments months in advance don’t really fit into most children’s world view – time feels quite different for them. So it makes it harder for those children to have an informed say in how they spend their time.

  120. Jen February 12, 2016 at 7:08 am #

    Ummm maybe the team is full?!?! Teams close out after a certain number of players. All of her ranting and whining just teaches her kid that you don’t have to be accountable for your actions. Register on time and you play…if you don’t you get wait listed. Next year make sure you register on time! Life lesson!

  121. Donna February 12, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    “This mom is offering to Volunteer – now, unless they have absurd Adult:Youth ratios in Westwood Youth Sports, it seems to me this mom’s participation would allow a few additional wait list kids in addition to her daughter to participate”

    Now we are adding the entire wait list to a single team? Wendy is only one person so she can only affect the adult:youth ratios on one team. And since her daughter is at the bottom of the wait list, you only get to her daughter if EVERYONE on the wait list is now allowed to play.

    So basically, you have one team larger than the other teams. The girls on that team who signed up on time get a lesser experience. At 3rd grade rec league level, you are still in everyone-gets-equal-play time range so now everyone gets less play time and more stand-around-and-do-nothing-while-bored time. But, who cares about everyone else as long as Wendy’s kid gets to play.

  122. lollipoplover February 12, 2016 at 9:31 am #

    “But I think it is a problem when it’s the vast majority of children’s activities and when there aren’t enough good quality children’s activities.”

    Ha! I think there are TOO MANY quality children’s activities to choose from, and my family has the problem of saying no to some requests as we don’t have the time or the money to do everything.

    My kids can play soccer all year long at the intramural level, travel, or for an elite club with prices from $80(intramural) per season to club at $4000 a year (plus tournament costs!). Any sport has all of these levels for children, depending on your budget and available time. There are yoga classes, gymnastics classes, dance classes, lego clubs, STEM clubs, girl scouts, boys scouts, pottery classes, music lessons, theater productions, CYO leagues, bands, orchestras, and after school camps at the Y, library, and most schools. My kids can play hockey, indoor soccer, basketball, or running club right after school for a price. They also have a homework club (with great HS students who actually understand common core math) and arts camp offered after school.

    I don’t know where you live, but we are overflowing with kid-centric activities. There’s more for kids to do than adults. Where are all of the intramural adult leagues (sponsored by local taverns)??! They have spas for kids, gyms for kids (Little Gym, Gymboree), children’s museums, and indoor children’s playground.

    We try to balance our children’s interests with the impact it has on our family to be driving them to and from too many scheduled activities and sports. There are so many! I think extra-curricular activities and hobbies should enhance your life and bring you enjoyment, not frazzle the family and make our lives so hectic that we are eating take-out each night in the car as we drive to and from their activities. That’s no fun.

  123. Donna February 12, 2016 at 9:51 am #

    “Ha! I think there are TOO MANY quality children’s activities to choose from, and my family has the problem of saying no to some requests as we don’t have the time or the money to do everything.”

    I think this depends greatly on area and your socioeconomic background.

    There are plenty of extracurriculars in my town … if you have money. If you are poor, which is a large percentage of our local population, you are pretty much limited to the county rec programs. Those fill up quickly, often within an hour of opening to registration. Certain programs, like gymnastics and swimming, never have near enough space for everyone who wants them. Not a problem for people who can afford one of the 3 local private gymnastics schools, but it does shut out a lot of the poor kids who want to participate.

    And don’t even get me started on summer camp. We don’t have a great number of options for camp for school-age kids of working parents (camp that actually runs all day) outside of the rec department. Getting into rec department camp requires getting in line at 3am for registration that starts at 9am. Getting there at 4am, waiting for hours and still not getting into camp is a pretty miserable experience. They are going online this year, but I wonder how that will work.

  124. HKQ451 February 12, 2016 at 10:04 am #

    @Lollipoplover There are quite a lot of children’s activities around here too, but almost none that are don’t require a 6+ month commitment (normally with upfront fees), unless you can afford to pay for private coaching. And many common activities (including girls scouts, but in particular local government sports and music programs) have long wait lists.

    I think part of the reason for the increased demand for commitment are the increased requirements placed on providers to maintain particular records and practices. While some of those requirements may be a good thing, I think there can be a failure to understand the social costs (like inaccessibility) of increased regulation. And part of the reason is the general shift of society to support the “Tiger-mom” approach to child-rearing. Which, to me, does not fit in with a free range mind-set.

  125. James Pollock February 12, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    “There are quite a lot of children’s activities around here too, but almost none that are don’t require a 6+ month commitment ”

    Our park and rec district offers “drop in” sports, mostly for indoor sports during the wintery months, but also during the dry months for activities that typically require at least a minimum number of players.

    And, of course, the local schoolyard has fields that are maintained by the park and rec department for soccer, lacrosse, etc but it also has open, unmarked fields which are NOT scheduled six months in advance. There’s a local bunch who go out there and play cricket occasionally.

    It takes ten players to play regulation basketball, but only two to play H-O-R-S-E, Tip-in, or one-on-one. Any number of games can be improvised with a Frisbee, an open field, and any number of players. Start with a four-square ball and you can make wallball, kickball, ball-tag, dodgeball.

    Who says sports has to involve official rules, fields marked off with chalk, and team uniforms?

  126. Warren February 12, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    “Ha! I think there are TOO MANY quality children’s activities to choose from, and my family has the problem of saying no to some requests as we don’t have the time or the money to do everything.”

    Yeppers!!! Unfortunately for people like Wendy, these organizations don’t come around door to door and hold your hand to sign up. You actually have to spend a little time researching what is available and when.

    Now for those complaining about long lead in times for registration and payment, well sucks to be you. You may only sign up for one sport, but the people running parks and rec. are planning and scheduling year round for everything the municipality offers. Hell the registration for swimming lessons alone is a parks and rec. nightmare, and that happens at least three times a year. Our Director of Parks and Rec was a regular swimmer and a great guy. I used to joke with him in the week leading up to registration if he was ready. Because he was always swamped with parents complaining that they couldn’t get their snowflake with the instructor they want, in the pool they want on the day they want and in the time slot they want. I honestly believe it was from him that I learned the saying, “Sucks to be them.”.

  127. laura February 12, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

    I understand you’re frustration but it happens to boys as well, my son was shut out of soccer one yr. because I was late signing him up I explained what happened and we played the following yr. he plays lacrosse as well but I learned my lesson and sign him up way before the deadline so we don’t have issues anymore. I’m sure she can play next year:’)

  128. JulieH February 12, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

    Sorry, off topic-ish…

    Has anyone here played co-ed lacrosse that can help me understand the differences between that and girls’s or boy’s? I have tried looking online but don’t find a clear answer.

    My daughter is starting high school in the fall and is excited about their co-ed lacrosse team that has never had a girl sign up for it. 😉 I know, I don’t get it either…how is it co-ed if it has always been boys… That’s just how it has been explained to us so far.

  129. Warren February 12, 2016 at 2:32 pm #


    The only differences between co-ed and boys lacrosse would be that at all times there must be a minimum of X amount of females on the playing field, to insure equal strength. Also there will probably be a non-contact rule, also meaning the need for less protective gear.

    Boys/men’s lacrosse has a way of being basically a different type of hockey, as far as body contact goes.

  130. James Pollock February 12, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

    “Has anyone here played co-ed lacrosse that can help me understand the differences between that and girls’s or boy’s? I have tried looking online but don’t find a clear answer.”

    If it’s for a public school or a public parks league, you’re probably looking at a domino effect of Title IX.

    They have a commitment to equal opportunities for girls to play as boys. This can be solved in one of two ways… a girls’ league and boys’ league, or one league that is open to both. If there are enough participants, you can build two leagues, each with independent teams, coaches, tournaments, etc. If you don’t have enough participants, you can’t build enough teams to have a meaningful league schedule. (If you only have two teams, you can jump right to the league championship game…)

    Now, a single league can operate to limit girls’ participation. None of them wants to be the only girl on the team, and a team of girls is at a disadvantage in a league full of boys’ teams (This is not sexist, but I’m going to leave out the reasons why, for now.). Sometimes this disincentive to girls’ participation is an unfortunate side effect, and sometimes it is by design. “Hey”, they say, “we opened up signups to girls. It’s not our fault that none of them signed up! Now give us all the fields and practice areas.”

    I would not assume that girls’ lacrosse is any less violent than is boys’ lacrosse. This is partly because lacrosse got its origins as a substitute for war, and mostly because I’ve watched women play competitive field hockey.

  131. Warren February 12, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

    Please everyone ignore James most recent posting. He is baiting people into another legal debate, because he continually loses them to Donna. He will continue to bait this forum until he wins, which will never happen, thus causing him to just post more of his inept drivel. Thank you.

  132. JulieH February 12, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

    Thanks Warren and James 🙂 That is all helpful, insightful info. Lacrosse is very new to our region – I don’t see much going in in girls’/women’s lacrosse, and on the male side it seems to just in recent years be hitting a critical mass where there is enough high school participation to allow multiple schools to have their own teams plus a “catch-all” team for those still aren’t there.

    The athletic director and team members (yes, teenage boys!) that we got to speak with at an open house seemed genuinely excited that she was interested. It is a small (600 student) Catholic high school. I am hopeful that it will turn out to be a situation where it is a good experience for her and the guys too (taking on a brotherly, protective role since she doesn’t have brothers of her own).

    Luckily, my daughter has a high level of self-confidence. To her its not a big deal to be the only girl in a team of boys. She has been in similar situations because of her intense interest in engineering (specifically electrical). She always seems to fit in and win the guys over with her quick wit and non-flirtatious manner. And the young men from this school she has gotten to know through our church and other events seem to be good kids.

  133. JulieH February 12, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

    @Warren – That snark wasn’t necessary.

  134. Warren February 15, 2016 at 9:21 am #


    I hope your daughter has fun playing lacrosse. These days being the only female on a team isn’t as big as it used to be. As with most issues the the younger generations seem to just be past all the bias and crap that the generations before it had. About the only thing gender based she may come up against is the rest of the team looking at her like their little sister, so to speak, and being a little protective of her.

  135. Meg February 15, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

    My son missed out on basketball sign ups two years in a row because I could not seem to get the sign up date in my head. It happens.

    However, I honestly don’t think this is a free range topic. All the teams and leagues in our town have rather firm deadlines for both boys and girls. In the case of my son’s soccer team, they cannot accept late sign ups because of how the teams are organized, the referees are paid, the fields are booked, and on and on…..And once one lets one child join late how in the world would one not let all the rest sign up? It would be an endless parade. I’ll also point out that the letter writer seems to want to leapfrog the rest of the waiting list, which is hardly fair. I also don’t think public shaming of the likely volunteer lacrosse folks is fair either.

    My husband is my younger son’s Cub Scout den leader, and all of these jobs are the very definition of thankless-they take tons of time, and there is always someone second guessing everything. If you don’t have some policies you just stick with it’s total madness.

    I’ll also add that there is a fairly decent risk of concussion in lacrosse. I don’t let my kids play football, and I don’t think that makes me anti free range, so much as someone who has weighted the risks and benefits.

  136. JulieH February 16, 2016 at 11:01 am #

    Well, it seems James hit it right on the nose per my discussion with school staff at registration night. In order to be in compliance with the state athletic rules, females must be allowed to join since there is not an equivalent girl program in the school. AND the school administration makes every effort to encourage girls to sign up with a “club” girls’ lacrosse program rather than participate in the school’s athletic program team.

    This explains why I was getting some mixed messages depending on who I talked to. The admissions gal who had come to the school had said that girls do not play for the school but play on this other “club” team – discouraging participation – rather than stating that there were just “lesser” options available if she didn’t want to play with all boys. The athletic director had told me she was welcome on the school team if she was up for playing with the boys – which he is required to do to maintain program eligibility since the local girls’ “club” team is not considered an equivalent program by our state’s athletic association rules.

    Daughter says if she is going to play as a high school athlete, she wants to play as a high school athlete – not some “parks and rec” program. Even if that means a lot of bench time for her, especially as she is getting started in the sport.

  137. BL February 17, 2016 at 4:41 am #

    ‘ Even if that means a lot of bench time for her, especially as she is getting started in the sport.”

    Uh, why? If she’s just getting started, I’d think lots of playing time would be what she wants. That would be park and recs, right?

  138. JulieH February 17, 2016 at 11:51 am #

    Because on a high school team, there is daily practice during the week with excellent coaches – she may not get to play much in games to start, but she is going to get a lot of time at practice to build skills.

    In a park and rec league – at least the ones around here – practice 1x/week, *maybe* 2x/week, with unknown quality of coach…could be great, could be someone who has barely played themselves. So she may get “fair time” playing during games but with what skills?

    I thought her logic was pretty sound.

  139. julie5050 February 17, 2016 at 10:01 pm #

    Welcome to the world of children’s rec sports….I have two daughters who chose to play flag football from age 5-10 when pads and tackle start…we tried Volleyball and Lacrosse both “rec” teams apparently 10 is over the hill. They didnt have the skills needed . The Rec Volleyball team was made of elite players who treated the rec team like two extra practices a week. Lacrosse even though it was the first time offered as a rec team…when they had the “try out”day to make sure the teams would be even…the coaches already knew half the girls and those girls already knew everything there was to know… There is no such thing as recreational sports…The lady you dealt with echos this attitude…no encouragement no sense of community