Perspective Of Yet Another Night Owl

Why? Is it just me?
June 14, 2007, 2:37 am
Filed under: Donations, Family, Kids, Life, Parents, Ranting, Some People, Teams, Volunteer

Why is it always this way? Is it just me and my life, or does it happen to you too?   A lot of parents are busy these days with work, multiple children and life in general.  They have to be in two places at once and it’s an endless cycle juggling the kids and everything else Mom and Dad have to do.  It’s good for your kids though, the sports, staying after school for clubs, volunteering, etc. It helps to build character and discipline. They learn teamwork and what it means to be a part of something.  

It’s nearly impossible to get the entire group of parents together at practices, before or after.  The kids forget to give Mom and Dad relayed information from the coach.  You can’t reach the parents by telephone because they are always busy.  You can try the cell, but once again, usually they are busy when you reach them on the cell, too.  You can leave a message and hope for a return call.  Or they will answer while in the car with the baby screaming and dog barking and your conversation is completely chaotic. Not to mention, you may cause an accident.  So, what do we do as a Coach or Team Mom?  We turn to email!  The ever-present internet we all have access to.  And, everyone has email. OK, almost everyone. 

Email works, as long as the recipients check their “In” box. And if they check their email, as long as they reply when asked, things are great. So, what do you do when your team parents don’t reply to your emails or read them??  Really, what do you do?? I don’t know if I am just asking for it, but I seem to get stuck in this situation a couple of times a year.   A lot of parents don’t communicate well with the coaches throughout the season.  Parents don’t always come to the games either. They “stop, drop and run”.  Getting information is difficult.  Then the end of season rolls around and some Mom asks, “When’s the team party?”  

Ok, no one has even done anything with this yet as no one ever responded to the coach when she asked.  Remember, Coach is busy coaching our kids and can’t do it all.  They are parent volunteers and we all know there are never enough volunteers.  So another asks, then another.  Although I usually volunteer for this in the beginning of the season, I was never told, “Yes, we need your help with this.”  So, once again, I step up and say, “I can do this”.  Short notice, but it can be done. 

I gather the few parents that were there at the time and took a quick vote.  We will do this, simple and easy. Just the basics: a party spot, pizza, cake, Gatorade, trophies, coach gift.  I figure $10 from each kid on the team should cover the costs. A quick figure because I am on the spot thinking. The parents I am speaking with think this is fair. One dad handed me $10 right there.  I have never had a parent tell me they didn’t want to have the party or didn’t want to contribute.  And it seems all the parents expect the “end of season party.”  Most know they will be asked to contribute to this venture.  

We chose a date and I mentioned two coach gifts and gave the parents there a say-so in the decision on that. Done with that, it’s time to go home, send out mass group email to each mom and dad of each team member.  Just 2 weeks to get this planned, but so far pretty easy. Email goes out to all parents with a request to please RSVP by *date* with the number of family attending.  Parents were also told that $10 would cover their cost towards the party and coach gift. They were asked to get this to me quickly as I ordered the coaches gifts and have paid for them out of my pocket already as we only had 2 weeks.  I attend all games in entirety and go to all practices for at least 15 minutes at the beginning and end of each.  

Well, a few days pass and one or two parents answered. A few more days, a few more answers, but little money is coming in toward this.  *Mental note* Cakes become cupcakes and I am baking them now.  I can see the money is not going as far because I am not getting it! I sent out a reminder email for all to RSVP if they haven’t done so already.  I gently reminded them of the $10 as well. 

Pizzas ordered. Gatorade purchased. I still don’t know final count so I took a guess based on the number of kids on both teams. (Yes, I am doing this for 2 different teams.)  A few more days and one team have all paid except one person. Yeah!!  Only problem with this team is I don’t know how many are planning on coming.  The other team has all said they are coming, but well, only 1 person from that team has paid. 

So the party day comes and I bake all day. I fill the coolers; send out last minute reminders to please bring the money to the party, check on the pizza order, get set up for both teams. 

I run into a Mom from another sport that we are both involved with.  She laughs and says, “You’re doing it again!” I laugh and tell her that I need to learn a better way to accomplish this because no one else will take it on.  She agrees and we say good bye.  I really am too busy to chat. 

The parties go off without problems, except the weather.  Some of the parents who hadn’t paid remembered to bring the money. YEAH!  Mind you, only some. I always end up spending considerably more than the other parents because I usually ask for less than I end up needing (my own fault) and then some just don’t pay (their fault).  Some parents actually did the “stop, drop and run”, left their kid with no money and didn’t even stay to see them get their trophy. It is house league, I know, but you should be proud of your kid and show it anyway. 

During the party, a Mom mentions to my husband that the party was a “bit unorganized” and she wasn’t sure if there was enough pizza.  My husband’s reply was blunt, but makes my point for me.  He simply said, “Well, if someone offered to help my wife put this together and all the parents actually responded to requests, it might have been more organized and there may have been more pizzas.”  He received no reply, but one wasn’t necessary anyway. It was probably not a good idea for her to say that to him since this venture has cost us about $75 to the $10 that only some parents contributed.  Heck, even the pizza place contributed by giving us 3 free pies and better than ½ price for the others. 

The parties were cut short because of thunder/lightening, and the “stop & drop” kids were stuck without rides for a bit. The weather being bad, we found them a safe car to sit in until their parents came. Don’t misunderstand me, I love doing these things for the kids.  I volunteer as much as I can.  It’s just that when I offer to do them in a timely manner, it gets pushed off.  Then at last minute, no one else steps up to the plate.  I end up doing what I offered in the beginning, only in super rush mode. 

I have changed my plan a bit for the fall season though.  I volunteered to be an assistant coach for one team and team Mom for the other.  Luckily, fall is the season that my third child takes off from sports.  I plan to plan the end of season party from the beginning of the season regardless if everyone else is ready to do that.  I will start the “fundraising” early on and when the funds are collected, I will make the final plans.  This will hopefully save me time and stress right before the holidays.


1 Comment so far
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You’ll probably have to call them next time. I’m not a parent myself, but most of my friends are parents, and pretty much NONE of them check email regularly. However, they can be equally difficult to reach on the phone. People are people. It’s amazing to me how many people really DON’T use the internet. My husband really doesn’t. He has no need to. On the other hand, I’m a computer addict. Perhaps not everyone else is. 🙂 I would resort to calling on the phone.

The problem with these organizations, is not many people want to be that involved with those things. I know my mom used to volunteer and she got tired of it after awhile for many of the reasons you listed above. Other people weren’t stepping up and doing their part (and this was pre-internet!). It sucks. And those who step up to the plate, there will always be the frustration of those who don’t want to deal with it.

Good luck with the new plan of action! 😉

Comment by shadesofpink

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