In most cases, when a player is late for a practice or game it’s not their fault.
Usually, it’s because a parent is delayed for any of several reasons, some avoidable and others not.
Our team had a 6 p.m. game on a Wednesday night that was 30 minutes away for our closest family. Four players arrived at warmups on time, one arrived five minutes before tipoff, one as the game started, and the last player not until after the first quarter.
RELATED CONTENT: Breaking the News that Your Child is Not Playing
As much as we wanted to tell everyone who was late, they couldn’t play, we didn’t.
Why? To begin with, only four players arrived on time and you need five to start. And since we are a team of seven players, the others would be our only substitutes.
But the bottom line as to why we didn’t punish the players for being late is because it wasn’t their fault.
One mom worked until 5:30 and another parent was stuck in traffic despite leaving in, what he thought was, plenty of time.
And did I mention these kids are 11 years old.
RELATED CONTENT: Parents Helping Parents
I’ve seen countless times when parents just don’t get their kids to practices or games on time because they don’t make it a priority. I’ve heard more than once, “My mom was on the phone” or “My dad had to finish cutting the grass.”
Meanwhile, the rest of the team, including the coaches, are panicking hoping they won’t be forced to forfeit the game.
Players rely on each other and coaches depend on all of them to fulfill their duties as members of the team whenever they can. This is important for practices and even more essential for games.
It’s just not fair to the team for a player to be late or not show up unexpectedly for a game unless it’s absolutely unavoidable. When that happens, the coach needs to be notified as soon as possible.
When being late is avoidable, it should never happen. It’s up to us parents to make sure of that.
Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years with perspectives as a parent, coach and board member. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Coaching Kids Made Easier,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you'd like to see to JonBuzby@hotmail.com and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.