This past weekend was the second weekend of the spring soccer season. It started raining on Friday night, and it stopped raining.....well, I should say it's supposed to stop raining sometime this afternoon. The team which I coach (and on which my 10 year old daughter, Thing 1, plays) was due to travel to a neighboring town in the next county to play a team from another club. That club canceled all of their games due to weather (it was 46 deg F and raining).
When I was a kid, I played two sports, fall soccer and spring baseball. Baseball constantly had games canceled, as it simply can't be played safely in the rain, and with spring rains, we lost a few games per season (sometimes make up games had to be made up...fortunately, the league scheduler had a PhD in Astrophysics and could mathematically figure out how to do all of this. I know this because it was my dad). Soccer, on the other hand, was NEVER canceled, unless there was lightning in the area. Even in the 70's, we knew to leave the field when there was lightning. But, rain or snow, or heat, we played.
The cancellations this weekend caused some of the parents to be thankful, as they don't want our precious little snowflakes getting pneumonia. I, on the other hand, was thinking, "I played in this as a kid and I never got pneumonia. It builds character."
I often see this viral email going around about how we didn't have bike helmets, and we played soccer in the rain, and we never wore seatbelts, and we turned out OK. But, that email wasn't written by the thousands of kids who needed bike helmets, or were thrown from a vehicle, or got a lung infection from playing sports in the rain. It was written by the survivors. So, were we tougher, or were we lucky? I've had 2 or 3 bike accidents where I was a few millimeters from getting a serious head injury. One of my older brothers was hit by a car while riding a moped to school, and wasn't wearing a helmet. He landed on tall, soft grass after it had recently rained, so he walked away from the accident. Another brother was playing soccer in a torrential downpour, wiped out in the wet field and landed on his shoulder, dislocating it. Between my three brothers and I, all of us have ended up in the ER due to at least one sports-related incident (mine was from baseball, I was the catcher and a kid slid into me....my brothers had soccer, skiing, and karate incidents).
I begin each soccer season reminding the parents that we do not play baseball, we play a real sport and we play in the rain, unless there's lightning. Am I a good coach? Or am I an asshole? Our club will cancel games, but only when the rain is so much that playing/practicing will do irreparable damage to the field. But on Saturday, most of our club's home games were played (we canceled the afternoon games at one field which drains poorly). I felt that was the right thing. Other parents thought it was crazy.
Are we overprotective? Or are we all simply remembering how lucky we were when we were kids, a few millimeters away from a trip to the ER?