My daughter had to leave our summer vacation two days early so she could try out for the field hockey team at her high school. She was on the freshman team last year and had been training for the past couple of weeks to get in shape for the grueling, multiple-hour tryouts. By day two, she was cut from the team.
My daughter was not the best player. In fact, all summer I wondered if she should be training more, devoting more time to practicing, or attending pricey sports camps. I know how competitive some of these team sports are. I also know they only allow a certain number of girls on the team.
My daughter, however, was born for team sports. She loves being part of a team. She adores the camaraderie and cheering on teammates. After being cut, she is scrambling to find something to participate in after school.
I want her to have something physical to end her day. The one thing I loved about high school last year was that she, along with her twin brother (who participates in cross-country), stayed every day after school and exercised. They applauded their friends and colleagues. I didn't need them to be the best at their sport, I simply wanted them to be involved. Mission accomplished.
As a nutritionist, my main concern is that my children are doing something physically active every day. With all the headlines about childhood obesity and the detriment of social media, I think there can be some alternative to simply getting cut from the team. More than likely now, my daughter will come home after school, not exercise because she will feel the pressure of homework, and proceed to sit at her computer for a few hours.
After she was cut from the team, I considered a few solutions. Understanding that varsity is for the top players, couldn't she simply be put on the JV team to at least participate in the practices and keep up her skills? Or how about some kind of club alternative? My daughter is not super competitive. She wants to be in the group, and I want her to be doing something active.
If she wants to try out next year for this intensely competitive sport, I will have to spend hundreds of dollars on camps and travel teams to build her skills up. But that's money most of us don't have and not a very good investment if she was cut again.
I just want my daughter to have an after school option to play the sport she wants. She doesn't want to fall back on an alternative sport such as cross-country or swimming. She wants to play field hockey. Every child should be allowed, and may I even say required, to participate in the sport that they want.