Dear Athletic Support: Hello again! I’m the same dad — “That Dad”—who wrote in last week asking about tiered practice times for players who aren’t starting. Great response to my question, by the way. I followed your advice and went to meet with the coach. As you guessed, the coach wouldn’t budge, and now my son is asking if he can quit basketball. We’re only a few weeks into the season. We haven’t played any games yet, but I’m still having a little trouble letting my son quit something after he’s already started it. To give a little more history here, my son didn’t really want to play basketball to begin with. The basketball coach found him (because my son is so tall, I’m guessing?) and convinced him to try out for the team. Now that my son has given basketball a try, I honestly don’t think I can tell him he has to stick the rest of the season out. And I can’t say I’ll be too sad about it either, especially considering their practices start so early in the morning. — That Dad Too.
Dear That Dad Too: I’ve received this sort of question before, and my go-to answer is always that the young athlete should stick it out until the end of the season.
However, your situation feels a little bit different.
Your son obviously doesn’t want to keep playing basketball. He might’ve never wanted to play, so forcing him to continue through an entire season could be extremely painful for all parties involved.
The other problem is your issue with the early practice times. If you’re not committed to getting him to practice, then there could be some bad blood on all ends.
Then again, allowing a child to quit (anything) comes with repercussions. It’s undoubtedly the easy way out. Once you’ve quit something once, the next time will be easier. You don’t want your son developing bad habits, so what do you do? Stick the season out, but play it on your own terms. If your son has to miss a practice here and there — fine. Let it ride. Try to get your son to enjoy the game for the sake of the game. Focus on his teammates, his friendships, the extra exercise.
Try to make this junior high basketball season as painless as possible, and who knows, your son just might wind up having fun!
Dear Athletic Support: Did you write a novel? If so, how can I get my hands on it? — Avid Reader.
I did write a novel; it just hasn’t come out yet.
“Don’t Know Tough” is a mystery/thriller that centers around a high school football team in Arkansas.
The publication date is set for March 2022. If you’re interested, “Don’t Know Tough” is already available for preorder wherever books are sold. When next March rolls around, I’ll be sure and give all the “Athletic Support” readers a proper heads up. Promise!
Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Send questions for “Athletic Support” to eli. firstname.lastname@example.org.