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An Update on Gymnast’ Activity Choice

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We have had a tumultuous year with Gymnast. I don’t know if it’s the teen/puberty hormones, the move or just pure boy-ness. But this mama has struggled!

I have always said he was my “high-maintenance” child. I’ve also said he hit the terrible 2’s at 18 months and I’m still waiting for them to end.

Recently, a post on a single mom’s Facebook group made me realize that a lot of parents suffer in silence with just various challenges and insecurities when it comes to parenting. It’s too bad they don’t send you home from the hospital with this cute little baby and a manual!

Now don’t get me wrong. I love Gymnast and am super proud of him. But he challenges me at every single turn, all the time, it is never ceasing! I’m not going to throw out all the labels people have given me over the years, but I’m sure there are parents here who can relate.

I say all this to give you some background on what I’m sure will be another controversial choice I’ve made for him.

Background

Gymnast was recruited to a competitive gymnastics team several months before his 6th birthday. This would have been his 7th year competing and he was slated to move up to Level 8 (Level 10 is the highest level, think college and Olympics.) He is very good.

But his training and competition has cost me a pretty penny over the years. Even though I was able to barter for a number of years for the training costs, travel and competition and uniforms, they add up.

After a really rough semester of public school, I made the parenting and financial decision to pull him from gymnastics at the end of last competition season. You can read about it here.

All summer, he pleaded and begged to return. And frankly, it turned my stomach to have made the choice, but I KNEW as a parent I needed to stick to my guns. Fast forward 3 months, and he returned from a month long visit to his grandparents. Still anxious to return to the gym.

The Compromise

I had pleaded with him to try a school sport, try a team sport, trying anything else that was local. He needs the energy and physical outlet (see high maintenance above.) But he was not interested at all.

We compromised at the beginning of August. I would agree to 1x a week back at the gym, he would agree to some behavioral and attitude adjustments and his coach agreed to call this a maintenance year and not require any competition. That cost me $100 per month, see the notes here.

School Spirit for the Win

This is Gymnast first semester in a school (previously homeschooled) during football season. The hype, the pep rallies, the “football” persona won him over. And he decided to try out football.  After my initial call with the coach, I told him, he could try for a week and then he would have to choose. Logistically I didn’t think he could do both.

But in fact, the football team has one day off a week AND the season ends the first or second week in October. And doesn’t practice again until sometime in the spring. That would leave me with a “activity-less” Gymnast. No physical outlet for his abundance of emotions and energy. That is NOT acceptable for any of us!

Gymnast ready for football

Gymnast and Football Player

As a result, Gymnast is going to stay in gymnastics, going 1x per week. And he is going to play football. Well, he’ll have to earn playing time. And the learning curve will be steep seeing as he had never even seen a football game before attending last week’s middle school game.

But he will work out and be apart of the team. And we will see what happens. I had to invest in a pair of cleats and girdle for football, and my monthly cost for gymnastics remains $100.

(I will not attend football games unless the coach tells me he has earned playing time. So I’m not adding the cost of attending games to my budget at this point. Sorry, sitting in the heat, in a crowd is about as close to a nightmare as this introvert can think of. And yes, I realize that this is sacrilege in the football loving south. But I’m being honest.)

I realize many BAD readers disagree with my spending money on kids’ activities when I’m in debt. In reality, we have cut back tremendously! But eliminating them completely is just not worth it to me for a variety of reasons. Did/do you find some “extra” kid expenses to be non-negotiable even when climbing out of debt?


Disparity between Girls and Boys Sports

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I spent the morning at a fundraising tournament for Princess’ high school volleyball team. The funds raised from this and two other fundraisers they have planned are to help offset the $300 price tag for the parents. Which in and of itself is great!

Is it Really a Fundraiser?

However, my concern with this type of fundraiser is that the bulk of the financial investment still lies with the parents. For instance, each player had to pay $5 to play. They also had to either supply cases of drinks or baked goods to sell at concessions.

From what I can tell, there are 10 teams here at $30 per team, that’s just $300 they’ve brought in. I don’t know how much a bake sale at this type of event is going to make, but I cannot imagine it will be substantial.

While there is no cost for labor. The coaches are the referees and vollyeball players are working as line judges, covering the door (it is $5 to get in for spectators,) and selling baked goods. I just can’t see how this type of event is going to pull in any significant amount of money to help us parents out.

In fact, after the prizes they are giving to the top 2 or 3 teams, well, I just don’t see this being successful as a fundraiser.

Or is it Just Fun?

Granted it was a lot of fun; they are obviously enjoying playing with teams of their own creation. There are teams comprised of football players only, family teams from the parents down to the young siblings and parents playing with their children and friends.

Princess volleyball team

Ready for play – Princess and her teammates ready at the fundraising tournament.

Perhaps if it had been better advertised. I think there was just two messages sent out…one with the volleyball players themselves via a flyer and the second a social media post just a couple of days ago. It’s too bad the support for girls sports is underwhelming compared to the local football team which you cannot get away from.

Disparity between Boys and Girls Sports

Even the girls notice. I had a group of four volleyball players in my car yesterday, and they were lamenting the disparity in funds and support for their team versus the boys sports. Not only did they bring up the cost, but also the lack of new uniforms and new equipment. But worse then that, at least in my eyes, was the lack of recognition for their efforts.

Evidently, during announcements, the sports highlights are read and little to nothing is said about the girls sports unless there is a “star” player who did something amazing. I don’t know. This is really our first time with public school sports.

Princess is loving it, but it saddens me that even the girls recognize the difference in financial and community support.

Is this the same in your community? Has anything been done to address it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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