Last Thursday night, my son and his teammates played their last football game. They played their collective you-know-whats off; they blocked, ran, scored, missed, got upset and happy. At the end of the game, 22-26, they lost. Win or lose, the same handful of parents, guardians, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, grandparents and 14-15-year-old giggly teenaged girls showed up. We woo-woo’d, cheered, clapped, criticized, yelled, jumped and high-fived at each game and supported the team. The 14 played with heart and won the respect of parents, coaches and each other.
About three games ago, grades came out. In high school sports, if your child has less than a 2.0 GPA and any F’s, that child is not allowed to participate in that sport. My son’s team, which had about 30 players, was whittled down to 14. In order to ensure transparency, the school monitors grades of all athletes. There is a weekly study hall. Grades are tracked by their teachers and shown to coaches and parents. The school sends out progress reports, and all parents have access to their children’s grades on the school website. So when the report cards are finally distributed, there should be no surprise. A few parents, realizing that their boys were not handling their business, took them off the team, and some parents took their boys off of the team by failing to maintain the required 2.0 GPA.
All the boys have the same laidback and non-urgent manner. If you ask them how they are doing, how they feel and how was school today, their response is “good.” So, as parents, our task is to get through the “good” and get to the truth. That requires not only asking but peeking into the website and into their rooms to see what they are or are not doing every day. We are to be as supportive on the field, by attending their games, as we are in the classroom and at home. There is no reason for any child to get an F and the parents to be caught unawares. There are life and family circumstances that can affect our children, which affects the child’s ability to excel in the classroom. This mother recognizes that.
The act of being put off the team is a life lesson that should teach all of the boys that there are consequences to every action or inaction in life.
• Yolande Barial is a Tracy resident and mother. Her column appears every so often in the Tracy Press. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org