Tuesday, December 10, 2019
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Hi Tom,
First of all, my granddaughter had the good fortune to attend a couple of your basketball camps in the past and it was great. I thought she was starting to develop “team spirit” as opposed to what she had experienced in the past, “only the best kids get to play”.
Anyway that’s not why I’m writing this. I am concerned about having kids run, practicing for cross-country, in the afternoon in PHX in 111degrees. We received a call from after school care that she arrived red as a beet, gasping, complaining of stomachaches. I thought the coach should have addressed this and not sent her on to the care program. I don’t know but I think she could not have been the only one who had a reaction. The coach never contacted us. I’m not sure how to tell them that I don’t want her on the team anymore without her being branded a weakling. She is anything but. This could have been serious.
I was just looking for some wisdom from you as to how to handle this situation.
Thank you,

Hi, and great question. I have always wondered why schools and school districts would have the cross-country season during those really hot months. It does seem that the winter months would be more conducive to that kind of activity. It’s like having golf season for Chicago in January, or trying to make a Dive team compete in an outdoor pool during the Denver winter.
I would like to think that the committees who set the sports schedules would take weather into consideration when planning the sports seasons.
Let’s deal with the part of this equation that involves dealing with the coach and protecting your child….
You do need to be in close contact with the coach so that he knows all of the potential medical problems attached with physical exertion and the heat. Most coaches are willing to be more careful and watchful when these needs are brought to their attention. In general they don’t intentionally overlook these issues but simply miss them, or underestimate the seriousness of the situation.
I work with thousands of kids each year (a few more than what is on a cross country team) and I appreciate when parents bring things to my attention that I may be missing. Coaches do hear a lot from parents, so you may start by asking if he has already been made aware of your concerns. As far as the September heat in Arizona, that part is obvious… what may not be obvious to a coach is the need to hydrate, and closely monitor heart rates, and signs of heat exhaustion. It is valid for you to let the coach know about the phone call you received, and to understand his policy or philosophy in this area. If you are uncomfortable with his response, you can evaluate the next step at that point.
Make sure that your approach to this is not done in a critical or an intimidating way as to put him on the defensive. If you affirm him, and show respect to him as the coach, I am sure he will be eager to work with you. Remember, most coaches do want what is best for the kids.
I also think it would be important to discuss how her physical needs can be met without her being branded as a weakling. With communication, honesty and respect there is always a solution.
If he doesn’t feel threatened or “bullied”, usually a solution will be found.
My vote is for ice-skating in September!

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