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Athletic support: Player punished for summer trip
eli cranor
Syndicated sports columnist Eli Cranor

DEAR ATHLETIC SUPPORT: We were at the beach last week. My son missed a whole week’s worth of summer football workouts/camps. He was really upset about this, but I told him family time at the beach was more important. 

We go to Gulf Shores every year. We’ve been going there since he was 4. The only thing that has changed is my son is going into his junior year of high school and has a chance to start on the varsity football team. Because of this, he doesn’t want to miss anything the coach schedules — even something as silly as a summer workout or two.

Well, he missed four workouts last week, and one team camp in Conway, which is just like some sort of scrimmage, from what he tells me, and now my son says he’s not starting anymore.

They had another team camp yesterday. When my son came home, he was so mad because he only got to get in for a few plays with the first team. Apparently, his coach benched him because of our beach trip.

I can’t believe this. I’m ready to give this coach a piece of my mind, but my husband says I shouldn’t. Surely, this coach can’t punish my son for going on a family vacation, can he?


 DEAR TANNED: I think your son’s coach is making a point. He’s showing the other players — the ones who were there all last week — that he appreciates their commitment to the team. If I had to guess, I’d say your son will be back in the starting rotation before long.

Most coaches aren’t going to put their jobs at risk just to make a point. So, if your son really is the best player at his position, he won’t have anything to worry about. Regarding whether you should miss summer practice for family vacation, well, that’s a choice only you, your husband and son can make. If the trip is something that cannot be rescheduled or moved due to issues beyond your control, then by all means, go spend time with your family.

If, however, the trip can be scheduled during the two “dead weeks,” then you might save yourself some heartache. The “dead weeks” usually fall at the end of June/beginning of July, right in the heart of summer. Sounds like the perfect time for a beach trip to me.

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