That's a mouthful you say. What does it mean? Well to our 15-year-old son it means beginning football practice in July, practicing in the heat of the summer through August with double daily practices during the last week. Practices usually run three hours a day. It means games starting in September when school starts and running through October. Because you're playing with a group of boys that have been together since the 3rd and 4th grade and have been fortunate to have wonderful coaches, it means that you come away from the season only having lost one game. Not bad. If you are lucky enough to be asked to practice and suit up with the varsity team during playoffs as he was, that means you add an extra week to the season (they lost their first round playoff game.)
During that time basketball tryouts are in full swing, and their practices begin promptly in November. Games start in December and keep going through mid-March. Now if you're 6'2" and pretty talented as our son is, you're asked to practice with the varsity team for three hours every day and even get invited to go with them on their Invitational trip to Hawaii just before Christmas. You play the freshman games and then suit up for the varsity games. You end up sitting on the bench for all but the last few minutes of each game, but hey, you might get a statistic for the record. Still not bad for a freshman whose team has won almost every one of their games for the last three or four years. The varsity team is doing pretty good as well, so there could be hope that he'll be a part of a successful playoff team. You can never forget that your practice with the team contributes to their success regardless of how much playing time you actually get.
Well, that's takes us up to where we are today...the beginning of lacrosse season. Yes, he plays that as well. Practices are actually going on now, but with basketball season still going, they'll just have to wait. I'm certain the day the varsity team finishes up the last of their games, he'll be packing his lacrosse stick to school. Games will run through mid-June and then we'll be back full circle.
So what does that mean to parents and siblings of a talented athlete? Well we do our fair share of fundraising - school budgets don't cover much of anything. We both try to make all of the games, home or away. We work snack shacks. We're part of booster clubs. We schedule family activities around games. We've also met great families that we've been close to since 4th grade. But that is his passion, and we're here for him. His hopes and ambitions include full-ride sports scholarships to the college of his dreams. Best guess is that he'll be part of the school's varsity teams for the next three years, and his exposure will grow.
Stay tuned, and someday we may be watching him on ESPN...you never can tell.