The Dreaded Physical

By Harmid (Own work) Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

At our school, sports clubs don’t require a physical while sports teams do. Ironically, that means that my child who plays ice hockey gets a pass on a physical while my child who plays field hockey does not.

I made an appointment for the dreaded physical weeks ago. Since a physical is a well visit, it was impossible to squeeze us in before school started. We got saddled with an appointment in mid-September with the advice to call and check for cancellations.

Fall sports begin at school on August 29, one day after school starts. No pressure, of course.

When I checked the schedule, I noted that tryouts weren’t until after Labor Day. Whew. I figured I’d borrowed some time. No dice:¬†Physical forms are collected in the first week.

That meant that I spent part of today scurrying to find a way to get a physical form completed. I emailed the school nurse and called our pediatrician. The latter told me that I was out of luck. The former told me to check Urgent Care.

I found an Urgent Care center that confirmed they would do a physical for school. When I arrived, I discovered that this was not a novel idea. I watched as the father of a boy about the same age as my daughter shuffled through his not-yet-completed paperwork.  Fortunately, ours was complete on my end. We just needed a few ticks of the boxes from the doctor and a signature.

First up? The eye test. We couldn’t possibly start with something easy. I say this because I am well aware that my child’s eyes are not perfect. She wears contacts and even though she just had a new prescription in spring, she advised last week that she can’t make out faces if they’re too far away. I called and made an appointment for… you guessed it: mid-September.

Somehow she passed the eye test (thank goodness) and the rest of the physical was relatively stress-free. We got the much-needed stamp of approval and our six page (yes, six page) physical form is ready to be turned in.

I was complaining about the whole process after dinner. It feels like such a waste of time because I know she’s healthy. Later, as I was checking through email, my husband read a story in today’s news about a kid who collapsed on the field during practice. He apparently had an undiagnosed heart condition. And just like that, the physical didn’t seem like such an inconvenience after all.

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The Waiting Game

My daughter had tryouts recently so you know what that means now: we’re playing the waiting game.

Rec sports are easy. There’s no pressure to make the team. Typically, if you have commitment and a checkbook, you’re good. But travel and school sports are another thing altogether. Those typically require tryouts.

Tryouts can be stressful for the kids because, well, kids. My daughter attended tryouts twice this year because her first wasn’t her best and she knew it. She was upset on the way home. This wasn’t a new team for her and I was reasonably sure that the coaches had seen her play enough to have already made up their minds about her place for the season. That still didn’t take away from the fact that what my daughter would remember about tryouts was crying in the car. And she loves to play so I didn’t want that to be the thing she associated with tryouts. So when she asked if she could tryout again, I said yes. She showed up the next week and it was a totally different experience. She left the court with a big smile on her face.

As parents go, the first time or so for tryouts may be unnerving but after that, it’s generally only stressful if you have unrealistic expectations. If you do your homework and research the team in advance, most of the time you have a pretty decent sense of whether your child is going to make the team (although in a club with multiple teams, exactly which team you make can be a whole other ball of wax). But even so, a new place can rattle you. A parent confessed their anxiety while we were chatting during tryouts. I quickly flashed back to another tryout when a parent said that she didn’t know what she was going to do if her kid didn’t make it because it was her “fourth time trying out.” That’s some dedication. I’m not going to question anyone else’s parenting because who’s to say what the right thing to do is for that particular child but I can say that when it comes to my own kids, I tend to think things happen for a reason. And if my child doesn’t make the team, it’s not the end of the world. There are other teams and other sports and other opportunities.

That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t suck. I know that it does. Twice now, my kids have landed on teams that they felt were beneath where they wanted to be. The way I saw it, that meant one of three things: (1) it is what it is and you accept it; (2) it’s an opportunity to get better and move up; or (3) it’s not the right place for us to be.

The first time it happened, we chose door (3). And that kid? Totally made the best of it at a new place. It was 100% the right thing to do. The second time it happened, we chose door (2). That kid wasn’t happy initially but has ultimately embraced it as an opportunity to step up and become a leader. The jury’s still out on that one but I remain fairly optimistic.

Here’s the thing. After tryouts, there’s zero that you can do as a parent to change the outcome. It’s done. It’s in someone else’s hands. The waiting can be pretty terrible but ultimately, it is just that: waiting. Remember that your kids read you pretty closely when it comes to these things. And your stress over what could happen can translate a million different ways to little minds. So deep breaths. It will be over before you know it.