Q - What happens if my son cannot attend tryouts (August 14-18 in 2017) or team training (August 21-25 in 2017) or a training session during the season?

A - There are several parts to the answer to this question.

Life is about choices
Unlike coaching staffs in many other sports or at many other schools, we do not have a mandatory "you must attend every day of tryouts and training, or you cannot play" rule. We also do not have a mandatory "you must attend every practice or you cannot play in a game" rule. We understand that life is about choices, and each player and his family need to make the choices that are best for them. Who are we to say that tryouts and training for a high school athletic activity are more important than a family commitment? Who are we to criticize for prioritizing a family vacation or dentist appointment over a youth athletics activity?

Accept the consequences of your choices
While we definitely respect the choices and priorities each and every player (and family) makes, please do keep in mind that many players and families (and coaches) indeed choose to make their fall athletic activity their top priority. Many (in fact, most) families arrange to take their summer vacations or attend camps in June or July, so as not to conflict with the annual August ramp up in preparation for the fall season. Many families also do their best to arrange doctor appointments, dentist appointments, college visits, or other commitments, at times that don't conflict with their fall athletic activities. So here's the point. This is not to say that we believe that fall athletics should be given your top priority. This is saying that many families actually do make fall athletics their top priority, and coaches (of any sport) can't help but recognize this commitment.

What if I miss a day at tryouts?
Keep in mind that the coaches evaluate on-the-field attributes (technical skills, tactical knowledge, and physical ability) as well as off-the-field attributes (attitude, effort, commitment). It's only natural that a player that attends every day of tryouts (and training) demonstrates a high level of commitment (and attitude and effort). A player that misses tryouts or training demonstrates a lower level of commitment (and attitude and effort). It's unavoidable that the nature of tryouts is relative, so tryout attendance can't help but impact a player's overall evaluation.

Life lessons
We as coaches are often reminded to use every opportunity as a life lesson. Our players (and their families) get to make choices about the priorities in their lives (as do we), but must respect the consequences that come with those choices. Some people will choose to balance many different activities that could include multiple sports in addition to music, drama, art, dance, and many other endeavors (and let's not forget about academics, the most important activity of all). Some people will choose to focus their attention on one (or a few) endeavors. Those that balance many endeavors can become proficient in many things, and this is an excellent way to lead one's life. Those that focus on fewer endeavors can become expert in them, and this is also an excellent path to follow. No one should have to apologize for chosing either path, and should be proud to walk down either one.

In some respects, it might just be simpler if we said that every day of tryouts and training are mandatory, thereby relieving the players and families of these decisions. However, we disagree with coaching staffs that presume to know what's best for you and your families, so we leave the decisions about your priorities up to you. But please remember that missing a tryout day, training session, or other fall athletic activity is a choice you make, that indicates a lower level of commitment than other players that choose not to miss these activities.