Choosing Between Football and Other Activities

By Jon Buzby | Posted 4/23/2021

As states continue to move out of pandemic crisis mode and outdoor activities become more prevalent, the situation of a player having to choose between their weekend football game and something else raises its “ugly” head.

The activity might be a different sport, a school function or simply an opportunity to go fishing with a friend as a birthday surprise. But regardless of the reason, if the player doesn’t attend the game, it leaves the coach and the teammates in a bind.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the player should pick football before anything else. But what I am saying is that a last-minute “coach, I’m not going to make it today” should be avoided.

And it can be.

The scenarios I stated above are all things that are typically scheduled at least a week before they happen. Therefore, it’s incumbent on the player and the parents to make a decision as to which activity will be attended as soon as they realize there is a conflict. 

It’s not fair to the coach to wait and see what the weather will be like to go fishing, or to call them the morning of the game and say, “My other team needs me at the last second because one of their players is sick.” 

Good coaches, regardless of the level or type of football, make their game plans based on the players they know are available. And once they do, it’s a real pain in the neck if things change.

Yes, there sometimes will be last-minute cancelations by a player due to illness or injury, but it shouldn’t be for most other reasons. 

And remember, if one week out you tell your coach you can’t make it and all of a sudden, the day before the game the fishing trip is canceled and you do show up, don’t be surprised if your normal playing time is altered. 

After all, you told the coach you wouldn’t be there, and that’s fine. But then he made the game plan without you in it, and that’s fine, too.

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 and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.


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