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Section: children, mental-health, work

Dear Ann Landers,
School sports have taken over the lives of my children, and I'm tired of it. Am I the only one? Some nights, my kids don't have the time or energy to study. They just fall into bed exhausted. There is no time for doing home chores or taking on after-school jobs, which some kids need. We hear a great deal about having well-rounded students. Sports participation interferes with that. If the kids want to play soccer and be in the band, too, forget it! The coaches won't allow it. No excuse is acceptable for missing a practice or a game -- including weddings or funerals, let alone eating supper with the family. Let's face it. This is supposed to be fun for the kids. Most of them will never play professionally or get a college athletic scholarship. I propose parents unite and refuse to let the kids practice or play during school holidays or on weekends. If parents would make a united stand and say, "Only Monday through Friday, and two weeks before school starts, and one week after school lets out for the summer," the coaches would have no choice but to schedule during that timeframe. Too many parents and coaches have forgotten that the real purpose of school is to get an education. -- Sports Parents in La Crosse, Wis.

Dear Sports Parents,
You've written a very tough letter, but all your complaints are valid. I wonder if there are other parents who feel as you do. I also wonder if other coaches around the country are as demanding as the ones in La Crosse, Wis.

Tags: parenting - sports

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

anon's Comment
My nephew got benched from two basketball games because he missed one practice to spend an evening with his grandmother in the hospital (four hours from his town )before she died.

Reader Comment
Also, no games/practices over school breaks (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.). Some parents are worse than the coaches-trying to live their lives through their kids.

Reader Comment
Wow! I had a couple of sons involved in soccer, but it rarely, if ever, involved practice through dinner time! I agree that parents need to unite and meet with the sports coaches to set some boundaries. When practices and games prohibit kids from doing homework, or having other interests, priorities are out of order and something needs to change. Parents, UNITE!
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"Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them."
-Ann Landers