Raise your hand if you want a well-rounded kid. Now put it down if you have ever thought about the downsides of having a high achiever. Arm still raised, huh?
A few days ago, I would have been right there with you. I mean, the better they look on a college app, the more scholarships we might rake in, right? Mama's got to pay for college somehow (because right now, her two left feet are making that soccer scholarship look like pie in the sky). But a high school girls basketball team has me singing a different tune right now.
The girls from South Shore High School in Port Wing, Wisconsin made it all the way to the semi-finals in the state sectionals. They came back from being underdogs to make it there. And now they have to forfeit. Not because they did anything wrong but because they're such well-rounded kids!
Nine of the 11 members of the team are signed up for a band trip that was scheduled a full year ago -- and they've each raised $900 to make the trip. Not exactly something they can skip.
Basically? The girls got screwed for being TOO well-rounded! They didn't get to realize their basketball dream fully because another got in the way. And that hurts. Because part of the learning experience for kids in extracurricular activities is learning to follow something through to the completion point. But it's also part of the joy. I'd like to think kids sign up for a sport to play out the whole season, to actually do something they love for as long as it's available.
That competitive "go, go, go" parent in me hates admitting this, but the Port Wing case is a good reminder there is a point when it pays to just take one thing at a time. I see these kids who are doing three sports, plus yearbook, plus Spanish club, plus band, plus choir, plus a volunteering for a civic group -- all to get into college. And they're run ragged. They're the same kids who are sleep three hours a night and pounding energy shots every hour because on top of all of that they still have homework and need to get good grades.
They're lucky if they're not checking themselves into rehab celebrity-style for "exhaustion" by the time they hit senior year. And forget writing a compelling essay for admissions. If you don't have time to have a "life" to go with your extra-curriculars, what do you write?
This isn't to say that basketball or band or both together are bad. Two disparate activities are both great outlets in different ways for kids. I feel nothing but bad for these girls that they've already had to face the hard truth that even making all the right choices (being well-rounded in this case) will one day lead you down a path where you have to make a painful choice (forfeiting the game). But it's a good lesson for parents who push their kids to "oh yeah, go ahead, take on yet another thing: it will look good on the college application."
Would we rather our kids have a long list for the college apps? Or do really well at one thing, learning and enjoying it along the way?
Image via victoriaemeredith/Flickr